Some Writing Rules to Live By


Neil Gaiman Neil Gaiman

Mr. Gaiman is a novelist and screenwriter to name only two of his talents. Neil Gaiman’s work has received many awards internationally, including the Newbery and Carnegie Medals. His books and stories have also been honored with 4 Hugos, 2 Nebulas, 1 World Fantasy Award, 4 Bram Stoker Awards, 6 Locus Awards, 2 British Science Fiction Awards, 1 British Fantasy Award, 3 Geffens, 1 International Horror Guild Award and 2 Mythopoeic Awards.  His work is somewhat quirky and offbeat.  His children’s work is whimsical with a slight twist toward the stuff of childhood nightmares.

The following eight rules are his rules for writing.

1. Write.

2. Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.

3. Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.

4. Put it aside. Read it pretending you’ve never read it before. Show it to friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is.

5. Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.

6. Fix it. Remember that, sooner or later, before it ever reaches perfection, you will have to let it go and move on and start to write the next thing. Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.

7. Laugh at your own jokes.

8. The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it ­honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.

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4 Comments

Filed under creativity, quotes, writers, Writing, writing advise

4 responses to “Some Writing Rules to Live By

  1. I love Neil Gaiman’s writing. And these are good rules. I like #5.

  2. Great advice for a new writer… Thank you for sharing:)