Writers Write shares writing tips and resources. In this post, we share novelist, Neil Gaiman’s 8 rules for writers.
Neil Gaiman is an English author who writes short stories, novels, comic books, graphic novels, and films. He was born 10 November 1960.
His novels include the New York Times bestselling titles, Neverwhere and Stardust, and the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning American Gods, Anansi Boys, and Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett). He is also the author of the short story collections Smoke and Mirrors and Fragile Things. He is the first author to win the Newbery and the Carnegie medals for the same novel – The Graveyard Book.
Many of his works have been adapted for film and television. Here are his eight rules for writing.
Neil Gaiman’s 8 Rules For Writers
- Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.
- Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.
- Put it aside. Read it pretending you’ve never read it before. Show it to friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is.
- Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.
- Fix it. Remember that, sooner or later, before it ever reaches perfection, you will have to let it go and move on and start to write the next thing. Perfection is like chasing the horizon. Keep moving.
- Laugh at your own jokes.
- The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.
Visit his website: Neil Gaiman
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TIP: If you want help writing a book, buy The Novel Writing Exercises Workbook.