43 Writers’ “Rules for Writing”

Most writers have their own special “rules for writing,” even if they don’t talk about them. I find other writers’ rules fascinating, even when I don’t agree with them. A lot can be learned by reading about other authors’ approaches to writing.

The New York Times and The Guardian have published famous authors’ answers to this question on a number of occasions. The Guardian has a very long, disorganized article that collects many of the rules, which you can read here. This article is an attempt to organize that collection and to link to other authors’ rules as well, including more recently published authors’ rules on writing.

Source: » 43 Writers’ “Rules for Writing”

I’m of the same mind about this subject as author and writing coach Mark David Gerson (The Voice of the Muse). His writing mantra is There are No Rules. I agree. Rules for writing seem to me about as relevant as rules for enjoying a sunset or a kiss.

For those who, like the author of this article, find the rules of famous writers to be fascinating, this post by Emily Harstone in “Authors Publish” is the mother lode of rules. You’ll find Elmore Leonard, George Orwell, Neil Gaiman, Jack Kerouac, and even Nietzche. Nietzche’s rules begin with “Of prime necessity is life: a style should live.” I have no idea what that means.

Enjoy or be driven to drink, depending on your point of view.

Malcolm

Author: Malcolm R. Campbell

Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of "Sarabande," "The Sun Singer," "At Sea," "Conjure Woman's Cat," "Eulalie and Washerwoman," and "Lena."

2 thoughts on “43 Writers’ “Rules for Writing””

  1. No rules: yes. But … ‘off of’ can surely never be right? Although, pointing this out in a review did bring forth a spirited defence of it, with examples, from the author! I forget who the author was. Yikes, it wasn’t you, was it?

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