Today we're continuing the fun from last week's post on rules of writing from twenty-nine different writers.
Here are some more of my favorites. I'd love to hear yours!
Hilary Mantel: Write a book you'd like to read. If you wouldn't read it, why would anybody else? Don't write for a perceived audience or market. It may well have vanished by the time your book's ready.
Michael Moorcock: Carrot and stick – have protagonists pursued (by an obsession or a villain) and pursuing (idea, object, person, mystery).
Michael Morpurgo: Ted Hughes gave me this advice and it works wonders: record moments, fleeting impressions, overheard dialogue, your own sadnesses and bewilderments and joys.
Andrew Motion: Decide when in the day (or night) it best suits you to write, and organise your life accordingly.
Joyce Carol Oates: Don't try to anticipate an "ideal reader" – except for yourself perhaps, sometime in the future.
Annie Proulx: Proceed slowly and take care.
Ian Rankin: Stay lucky.
Will Self: You know that sickening feeling of inadequacy and over-exposure you feel when you look upon your own empurpled prose? Relax into the awareness that this ghastly sensation will never, ever leave you, no matter how successful and publicly lauded you become. It is intrinsic to the real business of writing and should be cherished.
Zadie Smith: Work on a computer that is disconnected from the internet.
Colm Tóibin: Stay in your mental pyjamas all day.
Rose Tremain: In the planning stage of a book, don't plan the ending. It has to be earned by all that will go before it.
Sarah Waters: Respect your characters, even the minor ones. In art, as in life, everyone is the hero of their own particular story; it is worth thinking about what your minor characters' stories are, even though they may intersect only slightly with your protagonist's.
Jeanette Winterson: Be ambitious for the work and not for the reward.