The Guardian asked a few of their favorite authors what they kept as their rules for writing fiction. What they came up with is a wonderful read. Some are purposefully thoughtful while others are just as purposefully opaque. A few of the tidbits.
From Elmore Leonard’s ten rules:
Avoid detailed descriptions of characters, which Steinbeck covered. In Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants”, what do the “American and the girl with him” look like? “She had taken off her hat and put it on the table.” That’s the only reference to a physical description in the story.
From Jonathan Franzen’s ten rules:
It’s doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction.
From PD James’ five rules:
Don’t just plan to write – write. It is only by writing, not dreaming about it, that we develop our own style.
And that’s just in the first half of the article. (Well, it’s more of a list of lists, but you know what I mean.)
Go, now, and read the rest of them.