|(photo courtesy of sxc.hu/)|
"There are three rules for writing a novel.
Unfortunately, no one knows what they are."
--William Somerset Maugham
Ha, gotcha'! And you thought, 1...2...3, you were going to get a simple answer?
If it were only that easy!
Maybe this will help?
"Do not put statements in the negative form.
And don't start sentences with a conjunction.
If you reread your work, you will find on reading that a
great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
Unqualified superlatives are the worst of all.
If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
Last, but not least, avoid cliches like the plague."
--William Safire, "Great Rules of Writing"
Hmmm. Maybe we're getting closer, but still...
How about this one?
"The big secret is the ability to stay in the room." --Ron Carlson
Ahhh, maybe we're finally getting somewhere. And then again:
"Successful writers are not the ones who write the best sentences. They are the ones who keep writing. They are the ones who discover what is most important and strangest and most pleasurable in themselves, and keep believing in the value of their work, despite the difficulties." --Bonnie Friedman
There you go. Rule #1, 2, 3--all rules--come back to the one that trumps all: Write, and keep writing. And keep believing in the value of your work, despite the difficulties.
Oh, maybe there is one more. A clincher that can only be said of today's day and age (at least for me):
"Being a good writer is 3% talent, 97% not being distracted by the Internet." --Anonymous
What's the best "rule" in your book for writing, and for getting it done?