Rules for fiction writers

Thank you to the leader of the Seattle Speculative Fiction Writers Meetup for pointing me to this recent article in The Guardian. It’s called “Rules for Writing Fiction” but it might better be called “Rules for Fiction Writers” — you’ll see why when you read it.

It includes tips from Elmore Leonard and Neil Gaiman. Leonard says:

Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose”. This rule doesn’t require an explanation. I have noticed that writers who use “suddenly” tend to exercise less control in the application of exclamation points.

I’d add to that: Avoid using the word “somehow,” and never, ever, use it multiple times in the same story. The only exception to this rule is in dialogue or narrative spoken by a highly confused character.

One response to “Rules for fiction writers

  1. Thanks for this. I just went through my manuscript and removed every ‘suddenly.’ I wasn’t a major offender, but it was there.


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