Ten rules, an edited list

Ten rules, an edited list

Inspired by Elmore Leonard’s forthcoming 10 Rules of Writing, a round-up of authors on writer-ly do’s and don’ts:

Keep your exclamation points ­under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. If you have the knack of playing with exclaimers the way Tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful. —Elmore Leonard

Cut (perhaps that should be CUT): only by having no inessential words can every essential word be made to count. —Diana Athill

You see more sitting still than chasing after. —Jonathan Franzen

Do change your mind. Good ideas are often murdered by better ones. —Roddy Doyle

Remember writing doesn’t love you. It doesn’t care. Nevertheless, it can behave with remarkable generosity. Speak well of it, encourage others, pass it on. —AL Kennedy

Be aware that anything that appears before “Chapter One” may be skipped. Don’t put your vital clue there. —Hilary Mantel

In the planning stage of a book, don’t plan the ending. It has to be earned by all that will go before it. —Rose Tremain

Finish the day’s writing when you still want to continue. —Helen Dunmore

You can also do all that with whiskey. —Anne Enright

My most important rule is one that sums up the 10: if it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. —Elmore Leonard

A longer list before I cut and rewrote. Don’t miss the entire list; there’s even a part two.