Here I blog about writing, editing, reading, books, submissions, freelancing, getting published (and rejected), journalism, revisions, life after the MFA, teaching writing, and living the writer's life. Welcome. BUT -- if you are a writer: Write first, read blogs second.




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.

3 comments:

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.