Tag Archives: writing rules

Zadie Smith’s 10 Rules of Writing

Writer's Blog

zadiesmith5 Zadie Smith (Photograph: Francesco Guidicini)

In the winter of 2010, inspired by Elmore Leonard’s 10 rules of writing published in The New York Times nearly a decade earlier, The Guardian reached out to some of today’s most celebrated authors and asked them to each offer his or her rules. My favourite is Zadie Smith’s list — an exquisite balance of the practical, the philosophical, and the poetic, and a fine addition to this ongoing omnibus of great writers’ advice on the craft.

Smith counsels:

  1. When still a child, make sure you read a lot of books. Spend more time doing this than anything else.
  2. When an adult, try to read your own work as a stranger would read it, or even better, as an enemy would.
  3. Don’t romanticise your ‘vocation.’ You can either write good sentences or you can’t. There is no ‘writer’s lifestyle.’ All that matters is what you leave on the…

View original post 122 more words

Advertisements

The Most Important Rule of Writing No One Talks About 

Christopher Kokoski



If you could only teach ONEwriting lesson for the rest of your life, what would you teach?

My answer: Contrast.

Why?

5SuspicouslySpecific Reasons Contrast Is the Most Important Rule of Writing

  1. Contrast is the key to a high-concept premise
  2. Contrast improves nearly every element of story
  3. Contrast is compelling to readers
  4. Contrast is inherent in the understanding of story
  5. Contrast works at both the micro and macro level of story

By definition, contrast combines opposites.

“cold fire”

“wet sand”

“beautiful atrocity”

It’s intriguing because it’s unexpected. It grabs attention, generates curiosity and keeps readers glued to the page. If you want to design a bestseller idea, use contrast. If you want to improve a sentence, paragraph, description, character or scene – contrast every time.

After all, most stories involve contrast on a macro level. Cinderella is both peasant and princess. Alice travels to Wonderland. The lesson of the…

View original post 143 more words