That urge to write.
Well okay. The urge is always there. It’s the actual initiative that kinda comes and goes.
But well, here’s hoping it stays.
At any rate, I’ve been reading more blogs about writing lately and today I came across this one about Jonathan Franzen’s rules for writing. I kinda hate these lists, partially because there are so many of them and partially because creative writing teachers hold to them like dogmatic zombies.
So, perhaps paradoxically, I’ve made a list of my own.
Lest you feed me to the maw of hypocrisy, I want to point out that while I am putting this list here for everyone to read1 it is not meant at all to be prescriptive. This is a list for me, something I intend to stick with. The point of posting it is that you don’t need to be Mr. Jonathan Franzen to create set of rules for writing. Make your own list. It’s far more likely to work for you anyway.
Well anyway. Here it is:
Bo’s Non-Prescriptive Rules for Writing Fiction and Even Probably also Non-Fiction though I’ll Say I’ve not Tested it in any Non-Fiction Kind of Way So Please Handle with Care in that Regard
- It is literally impossible these days for any writing to be wholly new. Don’t be afraid to be derivative. But do it out of love, not mockery. And certainly not because you don’t know any other way.
- The reader is not a friend; really it’s more like you’re a matchmaker between the reader and what you’ve written.
- In fact, never confuse you yourself with what you’ve written.
- Realism has its place. Surrealism has its place. Everything in between also has a place. Choose what to you accurately reflects your world and roll with it, even if it’s a mixture of styles.
- Let the reader know that you’re not afraid to feel things.
- Everything is up for grabs, metaphor-wise. Check out David Lynch’s movies for lessons in non-traditional metaphor.
- During your everyday pursuits, let your under-mind think about what you’re writing. It’ll surprise and excite you.
- The one thing every writer will advise is that you write every day. Only you can make this mandatory.
- Absolutely nothing your write will be seen by anyone else unless you let it be.
- Don’t let another writer tell you how to write. Since writers are extraordinary people, since they are neurotic and selfish, what works for them has a next-to-nil chance of working for you.
- Which let’s face it isn’t that many people any way.