Sunday, May 30, 2021

Rules for Writers

 

1. Respect the reader. The story does not belong to the writer when it is being read, it belongs to the reader. You provide the words, they provide everything else. You’d do well to remember this. 

2. Minimize character and setting description. Limit it to one or two lines and let the reader fill in the blanks. 

3. Do not lecture the reader. The reader does not need to be fixed. Even if they did, it is not your place to try to fix them. 

4. Show AND tell. A writer that cannot effectively tell when appropriate deprives himself or herself of effective storytelling tools. 

5. Steal liberally. Like an idea, character, etc from a story or author you admire? It’s okay to steal it and repurpose it for your own work. As long as you change it just enough, its called inspiration and it’s totally fine. 

6. Start on action. Reel the reader in. Give them something right off. Life is too short for stories that don’t grab you immediately. 

7. Every scene must advance the story. Don’t introduce elements you don’t intend to pay off. Everything must effect the story or how the characters behave (which effects the story.) Eliminate all needless matters. 

8. Always be clear when and where the action is taking place. Nothing annoys the reader more when they have to ask “where the hell are they” or “what the hell year is this?” 

9. The words plotter and pantser... they are meaningless. Just shut up and write, no matter the method, get the words down on paper. 

10. Publishing is not a meritocracy. No publisher or agent owes you a damn thing. Remember that.

Dave Chadwick is the author of Monkey.