Monday, June 30, 2008

List of Writing Rules

William F. Nolan's writing career has spanned more than fifty years. The award winning author has published more than 80 books, 165 short stories, and has had 20 of his 45 screenplays produced.

In March, 2006, The Writer featured a four-page spread on the prolific storyteller by contributor Jerry Aith.

Nolan's 10 rules he writes by are:

1. Don't repeat words in sentences. Unless using them for pacing or rhythm, the energy gets messed up.

2. Don't waffle. Launch a search and destroy for words like "almost" and "nearly." Intensity is lost through equivocations.

3. Use four-letter words sparingly. If at all. I'm guessing a writer who wants to stick around for the long haul isn't trying to shock or disgust readers.

4. Avoid being cute. Another form of author intrusion.

5. Never use slang. The exception would be in the dialogue of a slang-using character.

6. Stay away from lecturing the reader. I've become so adept at tuning out lecturers, I don't even know I'm doing it. In a book I'd probably just close the covers and never return.

7. Practice verse. Poetry encourages rhythm and strong, concise word choice.

8. Never go against your personal moral code. See the cowboy hat? (I'm such a romantic . . . for a suspense novelist).

9. A story must excite and intrigue you. I've bored myself more than once.

10. Don't talk a story to death. Avoid the long discussions, the too-detailed 3 x 5 cards and the crazy-long outlines. Create.

Currently reading: Still enjoying Silent Thunder. The book is very good. I'm just off my feed these days.

It's all better with friends.

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