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Real Rules For Real Writers

Ok, I admit it … I’m horrible at keeping this site up to date! If only I spent as much time creating content here as I do for other people!

So, to start off 2020 I want to talk about “rules” for writers. Seems like a lot of self-important people have them. Filled will all sorts of obscene absolutes that really don’t make much sense except to come off as pompus. So, without further ado, I thought I’d give you my less stodgy list of writing “rules”.


  • If you think what you’ve written is great, it’s probably rubbish.  But if you think what you’ve written is rubbish, then it is possibly passable.
  • If you haven’t edited your story half a dozen times (or more), it probably isn’t done yet.

  • For the love of God! Learn when to stop editing!
  • Anyone who tells you any of the following is a fool, no matter how successful of an author they are: NEVER use prologues, ONLY use “said”, NEVER use an adverb to modify “said”, DON’T use more than two or three exclamation points per 100,000 words, NEVER use “suddenly”, or any other number of silly non-rules based on absolutism that people try to pass off as being rules.
  • Friends and family are not your best options for alpha or beta readers or for editors. Unless they are highly respected literary professionals.  Even then, tread carefully in using them.  They simply love you too much to be objective and honest.  Get brutally honest opinions from complete strangers more than any other source.
  • Write stories for you. Chances are, if you find them interesting (and you can tell them well) other people will find them interesting too.
  • Drinking can lead to wondrous bouts of inspiration. It loosens the fingers much in the same way as it frees the tongue. The only problem is trying to figure out the next morning what you meant when you typed, “Tgdrs aw gyn dfcxdd bith klifxd bh h gfhjbffn.”
  • Don’t emulate. Blaze new trails! Don’t seek to be called the next Stephen King or J.R.R. Tolkien.  Seek to be known as the first [insert your name here].
  • Your characters are people too. Fictitious people, yes.  Born out of pure imagination and sometimes crazy ideas.  But people nonetheless.  Listen to them and treat their opinions about what they think they should be doing with respect and honor.
  • If you have got a “rule” that contradicts any of these, then I’ve got a trash can to file it in.  And don’t worry about having too many.  I’ve got a lot of trash cans.  And big ones too!

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