9 do not search for the book you haven't written yet. 10 do spend a few minutes a day working on the cover biog "He divides his time between Kabul and tierra del fuego." But then get back to work. Helen Dunmore 1 Finish the day's writing when you still want to continue. 2 Listen to what you have written. A dud rhythm in a passage of dialogue may show that you don't yet understand the characters well enough to write in their voices. 3 read keats's letters.
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5 do restrict your browsing to a few websites a day. Don't go great near the online bookies unless it's research. 6 do keep a thesaurus, but in the shed at the back of the garden or behind the fridge, somewhere that demands travel or effort. Chances are the words that come into your head will do fine, eg "horse "ran "said". 7 do, occasionally, give in to temptation. Wash the kitchen floor, hang out the washing. 8 do change your mind. Good ideas are often murdered by better ones. I was working on a novel about a band called the partitions. Then I decided to call them the commitments.mankind
Fill pages as quickly as possible; double space, or write on every second line. Regard every new page as a small triumph 3 Until you get to page. Then calm down, and start worrying about the quality. Do feel anxiety it's the job. 4 do give the work a name plan as quickly as possible. Own it, and see. Dickens knew Bleak house was going to be called Bleak house before he started writing. The rest must have been easy.
If you're lost in the plot or blocked, retrace your steps to where you went wrong. Then take the other road. And/or change the person. Change the opening page. 10 Prayer might work. Or reading something else. Or a constant visualisation of the holy grail that is the finished, published version of your resplendent book. Roddy doyle 1 do not place a photograph of your favourite author on your desk, especially if the author is one of the famous ones who committed suicide. 2 do be kind to yourself.
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7 you most likely need a thesaurus, a rudimentary grammar book, and a grip on reality. This latter means: there's no free lunch. You don't get a pension plan. Other people can help you a bit, but essentially you're on your own. Nobody is making you do this: you chose it, so don't whine.
8 you can never read your own book with the innocent anticipation that comes with that first delicious page language of a new book, because you wrote the thing. You've seen how the rabbits were smuggled into the hat. Therefore ask a reading friend or two to look at it before you give it to anyone in the publishing business. This friend should not be someone with whom you have a romantic relationship, unless you want to break. 9 Don't sit down in the middle of the woods.
3, you don't always have to go so far as to murder your darlings those turns of phrase or images of which you felt extra proud when they appeared on the page but go back and look at them with a very beady eye. Almost always it turns out that they'd be better dead. (Not every little twinge of satisfaction is suspect it's the ones which amount to a sort of smug glee you must watch out for.). Margaret Atwood 1, take a pencil to write with on aeroplanes. But if the pencil breaks, you can't sharpen it on the plane, because you can't take knives with you.
Therefore: take two pencils. 2, if both pencils break, you can do a rough sharpening job with a nail file of the metal or glass type. 3, take something to write. In a pinch, pieces of wood or your arm will. 4, if you're using a computer, always safeguard new text with a memory stick. 5 do back exercises. 6 Hold the reader's attention. (This is likely to work better if you can hold your own.) But you don't know who the reader is, so it's like shooting fish with a slingshot in the dark. What fascinates A will bore the pants off.
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"She had taken off her hat and put it on the table." That's the only reference to a physical description in the story. 9, don't go into great detail describing places and things, unless you're margaret Atwood and can paint scenes with language. You don't want descriptions that bring the action, the flow of the story, to a standstill. 10, try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip. Think of what you skip reading a novel: thick paragraphs of prose you can see have too many words in them. My most important rule is one that sums up the 10: if it sounds like writing, i rewrite. Elmore leonard's 10 Rules of Writing is published next month by weidenfeld nicolson. Diana Athill 1, read it aloud to yourself because that's the only way to be sure the rhythms of the sentences are ok (prose rhythms are too complex and subtle to be thought out they can be got right only by ear). 2, for cut (perhaps that should be cut only by having no inessential words can every essential word be made to count.
6, never use the words "suddenly" or "all hell broke loose". This rule doesn't require interpretive an explanation. I have noticed that writers who use "suddenly" tend to exercise less control in the application of exclamation points. 7, use regional dialect, patois, sparingly. Once you start spelling words in dialogue phonetically and loading the page with apostrophes, you won't be able to stop. Notice the way annie proulx captures the flavour of wyoming voices in her book of short stories. 8, avoid detailed descriptions of characters, which Steinbeck covered. In Ernest Hemingway's "Hills like white Elephants what do the "American and the girl with him" look like?
modify the verb "said". To use an adverb this way (or almost any way) is a mortal sin. The writer is now exposing himself in earnest, using a word that distracts and can interrupt the rhythm of the exchange. I have a character in one of my books tell how she used to write historical romances "full of rape and adverbs". 5, keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. If you have the knack of playing with exclaimers the way tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful.
Arctic Dreams, you can do all london the weather reporting you want. 2, avoid prologues: they can be annoying, especially a prologue following an introduction that comes after a foreword. But these are ordinarily found in non-fiction. A prologue in a novel is backstory, and you can drop it in anywhere you want. There is a prologue in John Steinbeck's. Sweet Thursday, but it's ok because a character in the book makes the point of what my rules are all about. He says: "I like a lot of talk in a book and I don't like to have nobody tell me what the guy that's talking looks like. I want to figure out what he looks like from the way he talks." 3, never use a verb other than "said" to carry dialogue. The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writer sticking his nose.
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70 facts you might not know about iconic British novelist Jane austen. Jane austen died on July 18, 1817 at the age. To commemorate the anniversary of her death, here are some surprising and writings interesting facts about the author of Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice. Elmore leonard: Using adverbs is a mortal sin 1, never open a book with weather. If it's only to create atmosphere, and not a character's reaction to the weather, you don't want to go on too long. The reader is apt to leaf ahead looking for people. If you happen to be barry lopez, who has more ways than an Eskimo to describe ice and snow in his book.