It’s the beginning of a new year, but some are still looking back and assessing the old in hopes of improving in various ways. Long ago someone asked me for ten rules of writing. Over the years since, I’ve mentally amended the list; when the question came up elsewhere on the net during March of 2010, I posted my list so far:
They will probably change, but hey, that’s what these end of year reviews are for, right?
1. Try to spend more time writing than cruising the Net, and that includes reading chat about writing.
2. Write what you love. If you’re not excited about the story, there’s a good chance no one else will be, either.
3. Learn to revise, which means making your text available to the broadest number of other reader brains.
4. Networking is good, but it’s better when you’ve done your daily word quota.
5. Read widely, and that means outside your genre, and as far outside your socio-economic-ethnic pool as you can get.
6. Observe real people. (As opposed to TV simulacra.)
7. If you have the burning need to Say Something, try to put someone just as smart in the piece who wants to say the opposite. Or you may as well strip out the three walls of fiction and preach at your reader in an essay.
8. Variation in mood and tone is like the spice in food–the better blended, the greater the flavor.
9. Research is good, but unless you’ve been researching a time, place, group, or paradigm for your entire life, try to get someone who has to beta read for you, and listen to what they have to say.
10. Anent 9, trying to achieve the resonance of the real among the trappings of the fantastic is what makes art. (But be aware that definitions of art are going to vary.)
Check out Sherwood Smith’s ebooks at the Book View Cafe ebookstore.