Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Panning for Writing Rules, Finding Some

I recently received a copy of MFA in a Box by John Rember, and have been dipping in and out.
Rember ends some chapters with a list of Rules for Writers. Here are some I like so far:
•Writing is co-written. The common name for co-author is reader.
• Every draft takes a layer off the surface of your consciousness. Rewriting is a form of personal archaeology, and the good stuff is never on the surface.
• Don't wade in over your boots unless you don't mind getting wet.
• Treat you reader with respect. They don’t' have the time to know what you know. Your own arrogance can kill the best parts of your stories.
• If you're lucky, the writer and the editor in you will accept the principle of mutually assured destruction and learn to put up with each other. The best I can say for this arrangement is that sometimes the editor saves the writer from going down the wrong path, and the writer saves the editor from reducing the story to a rehash of proven and predictable technique.
• Learn to turn your face toward the things that nobody else wants to look at. You'll find things there that nobody else has seen.


Kathleen A. Ryan said...

This is awesome, Lisa. Thanks for sharing. I just heard about MFA in a Box only days ago ~ and now your post referring to it ~ that's an interesting sign!

Mike O'Mary said...

Hi, Lisa. Thanks for sharing this. As John's publisher, I'm grateful that more people are learning about MFA in a Box. As a writer, I appreciate that people like John and you are sharing your knowledge and insights.

kario said...

These are great nuggets of wisdom! Thanks for sharing.