One hundred ‘rules’ for writing fiction: 92-96.

 

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Further thoughts from the great and good on writing, gleaned from interviews, articles and festivals:

92.  You have to know how to accept rejection and reject acceptance. (Ray Bradbury).

93.  Woolf was right. Make sure you’ve got a room –or even a house – of your own, so that you can work away when necessary. House-sit, pet-sit, plant-sir, go on retreat, residency, writing course – or just make sure your family, friends and neighbours respect your closed door. (Helen Simpson).

94.   Writing fiction is not “self-­expression” or “therapy”. Novels are for readers, and writing them means the crafty, patient, selfless construction of effects. I think of my novels as being something like fairground rides: my job is to strap the reader into their car at the start of chapter one, then trundle and whizz them through scenes and surprises, on a carefully planned route, and at a finely engineered pace.  (Sarah Waters).

95.   Have humility. Older/more ­experienced/more convincing writers may offer rules and varieties of advice. ­Consider what they say. However, don’t automatically give them charge of your brain, or anything else – they might be bitter, twisted, burned-out, manipulative, or just not very like you. (AL Kennedy)

96.   Be ambitious for the work and not for the reward. (Jeanette Winterson).

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