Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tuesday's Inspiration inspired by Stephen King 400 plus rules

Am still browsing through an essay by Stephen King. What I found this time made me laugh and laughter is necessary for a writer. So here goes. This is about rules. "Use vivid words. Avoid the passive voice. Avoid the cliches. Be specific. Be precise. Be elegant. Avoid unnecessary words. These rules and the four hundred--" The quote goes on. What really struck me were the 400 other rules. Couldn't help wondering what they were and wondering what they could be.

Rules for writing. Mr. King is absolutely right about the ones he mentioned and there are more. These aren't rules one knows when they begin writing. They are ones discovered as more and more words are put on paper or show up on the computer screen. They are rules given by the editors, agents, members of our critique group can point out when they are reading your manuscript. For me  being specific falls under the It was rule. Avoiding those non-specific words can be hard and I find removing the comes in the revision mode. When I am in the heat of getting the story down I usually break all those rules and probably ones that weren't mentioned. Revision is the time when those rules come into play.

One specific rule I learned early on in my career went something like this "Characters don't exist in a vacuum." An editor handed this to me and I still struggle with getting this rule right.

How about you? Is there a rule of writing fiction that you need to learn how to follow?

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