10 Rather Arbitrary Rules for Writing

So, yes, I’ve finally finished the new draft of Day Boy, and in the gap between edits I’m working on the next Death Works novella (which looks like it will be twice as long as the last, but we’ll see). Hey have you bought the last one yet? I’m talking to you person in the back row? You can buy it here, for about the price of a coffee – and it will last longer, unless it’s one of those really big mugs, but they never taste as good as a cup (am I right?)

Anyway, here are my rather arbitrary, and somewhat insufficient rules for writing.

 

1. Be Crazy.

Seriously, tap into your crazy. The part of you that is different to everyone else. Writing’s an exercise in empathy, but it’s also an expression of individuality, and as individuals we’re all pretty odd.

2.Start at the End.

Obviously if you start at the end, then the end is the beginning, and so there is no end, and this arbitrary statement implodes in a cloud of logic.

3.Do the Good Stuff first.

See 2. Obviously the ending is the best bit. Write the stuff that fascinates you first. Those bits are the density of a story, and it’s what the rest of the stuff (the connective tissue) will clump around. Our bones are interesting; flesh is just kind of gross unless it’s wrapped around them.

4.Write like no one gives a shit.

Seriously, no one does. Say this three times. Enjoy the liberation it brings and write.

5.Write every day except when you don’t, and never feel guilty about not writing.

We’re all big bags of guilt anyway, why make writing a source of guilt for you.

 

6.Read.

Fucking obvious. Read lots.

 

7.Capture a Star.

I don’t know, it just sounded good. You tell me what it means, you’re all writers – or masochists (which is another term for writer).

 

8.Engage all Engines.

Throw yourself into your writing, climb to the top of your word mound, and roll down it. Crazy is energetic. It’s the churn that binds everything together.

 

9. Shut up.

Give yourself to the quiet*, and try and write from there. It’s better than alcohol.

 

10.Be Cunning.

Remember writing is a game: play it like you don’t intend to lose.

 

11. Rules about writing are kind of crap.

Make up your own rules.

No, you make up your own rules.

Don’t tell me what to do.

 

*I write listening to music, but it creates a quiet place in my skull.

 

And here’s a picture of my new Tat. Yes, I love Tolkien – it’s not like that’s a surprise. Beat that CGI Smaug!

IMG_2207

 

 

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6 Responses to 10 Rather Arbitrary Rules for Writing

  1. Avril Sabine says:

    I strongly agree with number 3 (and a some of the other points too of course). I write whichever scenes are the most insistent. Sometimes that’s chronological order, sometimes it isn’t. And on the rare occasion it isn’t even the story I’m currently working on, but a scene from a story on my to do list.

  2. Trent says:

    So do I. You’ve got to find what works for you.

  3. Margo says:

    These all make sense to me, but particularly 4, 5 and 11.

  4. Keith says:

    Well you are a crazy bastard. But it’s obviously working!

  5. Susan K Sutherland says:

    Yes, all makes sense, obviously otherwise you wouldn’t write the great stuff you do. I like number 4 best. Been said before in different ways. Shut down the perfectionist, editor and so on but hey, “no one gives a shit” works for me! Onya Aragorn. :)

  6. Trent says:

    Thanks, everyone. I always reckon it doesn’t matter what anyone says, we writers all set our sights on some wordish destination, and sometimes, after lots of work (or very little, but mostly lots) we get there (or something like there). And even if we don’t the writing is fun, the making things up is fun.

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