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Saturday, January 22, 2011

"Don't Have Children" And Other Rules For Writers

From Britain's Guardian newspaper, a fun collection, in two articles, of "rules for writing fiction" offered by a potpourri of leading novelists. Some sound useful, others idiosyncratic, many mutually contradictory. "Don't have children" is from Richard Ford.  A few other samples:

"If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it."--Elmore Leonard.

"Hold the reader's attention.  (This is likely to work better if you can hold your own.)"--Margaret Atwood.

"Do give the work a name as quickly as possible. Own it, and see it. Dickens knew Bleak House was going to be called Bleak House before he started writing it. The rest must have been easy."--Roddy Doyle.

"Have regrets. They are fuel. On the page they flare into desire."--Geoff Dyer.

"Read widely and with discrimination.  Bad writing is contagious."--P.D. James

"If you have to read, to cheer yourself up read biographies of writers who went insane."--Colm Toibin.

The first installment can be found here, the second here.

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