Total Pageviews

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Fiction Writing Rules

I read a online article last week about the ten rules for writing fiction. I agreed with most of the points but there were some I did not agree with. I thought the article was interesting because at the moment I have written one memoir and I'm currently writing another. I know there is a consensus that memoirs should be written like fiction, but it was interesting for me to compare the article notes with what I had written in my book.

The most common rules I have seen elsewhere were also covered in this article. These were:

  • Avoid going into great detail describing places, people, and things unless they play an important part in moving the story forward.
  • Avoid writing never ending paragraphs with prose that's too flowery. In other words, like the first point, don't waffle on about anything - it's simply just not necessary.
  • Keep exclamation points under control. Use them sparingly.
I agree with all the above points and have followed these guidelines religiously through out my book. No one wants to know every single detail about something which has no relevance to the story.

Other points that were covered included:

  • Always use 'said' to carry dialogue.
  • Avoid continually spelling words in dialogue phonetically
  • Read what you have written out loud to yourself to check the rhythm of the words.
I agree with the last two points but not the first. I have read countless numbers of books that break this rule and I am guilty of doing so as well.

It was good to read these guidelines because I know I'm on the right track for writing fiction and this is predominately what I want to do in the future. Unless you've read countless books about the rules of creative writing at the beginning, you've really no idea when you first start out. The only way to improve at writing is to keep on writing and along the way you will learn these points.

Do you have any other rules you would like to add? If so just pop them in the comment box. Thanks very much for reading.


    1. Say what you have to say and get off the page.

    2. I wish Robert Jordan had followed the first rule...

      I also don't agree with using "said" for all dialogue, though it doesn't hurt. Many times you can infer the type of speech or response by what they say.

      I've done workshops and had people say not to do certain things, yet bestselling authors at major publishers do them all the time. So I take certain rules with a grain of salt. In the end, have tight, focused prose and keep to the point. Learn how to write good and concise short stories prior to writing novels.