Eight rules for writing fiction

I love studying the craft of writing and of writing fiction. On my too-rare visits to brick-and-mortar bookstores, I’m often found in the writing section. I only listen to two podcasts with any degree of regularity and one of them is Writing Excuses. (The other is Communicore Weekly, the greatest online show.) I could read Stephen King’s On Writing straight through, rest my eyes for five minutes, and then read it again. One of the few dead tree books within arm’s reach when I’m at my desk is Strunk and White.

But sometimes all talk of story structure and character development and pacing and omigosh your first page is so important just gets to me and I’ve had enough. Sometimes I want to just chuck all of that out the window and just write a story, rules be tossed into the sarlacc pit. Sometimes the only rule I want to follow is: trust your instincts, Ripplinger. (Why? Because intuitive introvert.)

I think all of that is why I really like this installment of Writing with Jane: “Eight Rules for Writing Fiction.” It’s your Friday video.

One thought on “Eight rules for writing fiction

  1. Learning established techniques is important, but I think we should do away with the word “rule” completely, and call everything a “guideline.” Not every rule applies to every story, and different writers contradict each other’s rules all the time. When I read too much about rules, I find it overwhelming and distracting and I start thinking of my book as a math problem instead of a living, breathing narrative. Maybe it just sounds like semantics, but as writers we know that words have power, and the associations you draw from a word like “rule” and a rule like “guideline” can really shape how you approach your writing. That said, there are some guidelines that are fundamental to every story, so it’s worth learning about them, no doubt about that. 🙂

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