Ten rules for writing fiction

… I love to read, but what I really need just now, in the middle of life, is to become a better writer

A visit to 101 Books made me aware of this great list of RULES for writing fiction. Heres Anne Enright’s contribution:

1 The first 12 years are the worst.

2 The way to write a book is to actually write a book. A pen is useful, typing is also good. Keep putting words on the page.

3 Only bad writers think that their work is really good.

4 Description is hard. Remember that all description is an opinion about the world. Find a place to stand.

5 Write whatever way you like. Fiction is made of words on a page; reality is made of something else. It doesn’t matter how “real” your story is, or how “made up”: what matters is its necessity.

6 Try to be accurate about stuff.

7 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.

8 You can also do all that with whiskey.

9 Have fun.

10 Remember, if you sit at your desk for 15 or 20 years, every day, not ­counting weekends, it changes you. It just does. It may not improve your temper, but it fixes something else. It makes you more free.

I love rule no. 1 – about the first 12 years! Marvelous! I also like her choice of the concept necessity instead of truth in no. 5. Talking about truth is very difficult, but I think that both writer and reader can feel it with body & brain when a text is founded on necessity.

I must admit never to have read any of Anne Enright’s books – have you?