Ten Rules for Writing Fiction

A friend just forwarded me the link to a Guardian piece in which noted authors describe their ten (more or less) rules for fiction writing.  The article is in two parts and includes writers: Elmore Leonard, Diana Athill, Margaret Atwood, Roddy Doyle, Helen Dunmore, Geoff Dyer, Ann Enright, Richard Ford, Jonathan Franzen, Esther Freud, Neil Gaiman, David Hare, PD James, Al Kennedy, Hilary Mantel, Michael Moorcock, Michael Morpurgo, Andrew Motion, Joyce Carol Oates, Annie Proulx, Philip Pullman, Ian Rankin, Will Self, Helen Simpson, Zadie Smith, Colm Toibin, Rose Tremain, Sarah Waters, and Jeanette Winterson.


Most of this is, of course, good advice we’ve heard before and maybe even given out to others. But reading the rules and abiding by the rules…well, that’s the rub. Of course I KNOW to show, not tell, but I don’t always do it. And I absolutely know that in most cases, less is much more than more, but somehow my fingers just can’t resist typing out a constant stream of lovely prose and description and loading up on history and scene and salting in lots of adverbs and other fun and oh, so, delicious words that bog down every other reader but me.

So, we hope you enjoy reading the rules and wish you good luck in following them.


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