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Mud, Formula and Effervescence: 10 Rules for Good Writing from Poe Ballantine in Writer’s Digest

30 May 2018|

Poet, novelist and short story writer W. Somerset Maugham said there are three rules to writing, but no one knows what they are. Funny, but not true. I’ve published seven books and hundreds of stories and essays, won a few prizes along the way, and I’m here to tell you that there are many stateable rules about good writing, 10 of which, some old, some new, all refined from personal experience, I present to you here. Art will never be a science, and these are my rules of course, but you’re welcome to them.

10 Rules for Good Writing

Rule No. 1: Forget the Hemingway Saying About Writing What You Know.

Writing what you know can be quite tedious for everyone involved. Wheat, for example. Write instead what you’re passionate about. Write what you love. Experience joy so that you may transmit joy. A novel typically takes me 20 years to get right, as was the case with my most recent novel, Whirlaway, so in order to sustain interest I had to have a 12-foot base of sweet-and-salty passion to keep me going. Love what you do and your readers might just love it too.

To read the rest of the rules, go to Writer’s Digest.