The Guardian in the UK has a post, “10 Rules for Writing Fiction.” In it they asked authors for their 10 rules, so the compilation is over 1o0. I limited myself to only quoting 10 here.

Elmore Leonard: “if it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”

Diana Athill: “Read it aloud to yourself because that’s the only way to be sure the rhythms of the sentences are OK (prose rhythms are too complex and subtle to be thought out – they can be got right only by ear).”

Margaret Atwood: “Don’t sit down in the middle of the woods. If you’re lost in the plot or blocked, retrace your steps to where you went wrong. Then take the other road. And/or change the person. Change the tense. Change the opening page.”

Roddy Doyle: “Do change your mind. Good ideas are often murdered by better ones. I was working on a novel about a band called the Partitions. Then I decided to call them the Commitments.”

Helen Dunmore: “Finish the day’s writing when you still want to continue.”

Geoff Dyer: “Have more than one idea on the go at any one time. If it’s a choice between writing a book and doing nothing I will always choose the latter. It’s only if I have an idea for two books that I choose one rather than the other. I ­always have to feel that I’m bunking off from something.”

Anne Enright: “Imagine that you are dying. If you had a terminal disease would you ­finish this book? Why not? The thing that annoys this 10-weeks-to-live self is the thing that is wrong with the book. So change it. Stop arguing with yourself. Change it. See? Easy. And no one had to die.”

Esther Freud: “A story needs rhythm. Read it aloud to yourself. If it doesn’t spin a bit of magic, it’s missing something.”

Neil Gaiman: “Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.”

Al Kennedy: “Remember you love writing. It wouldn’t be worth it if you didn’t. If the love fades, do what you need to and get it back.”

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