Over the past four years, I’ve been collecting bits and pieces of advice from writers whose work impacts the writing world. Over the next few posts, I’d like to share these with you. While every rule or suggestion might not apply to you and your writing – you, like me, should discover some gems.
(If you aren’t working on your grammar now, we will be getting to some easy lessons in grammar in July. And, please, do not tell yourself that ‘the editor’ will correct all of your errors. A piece full of grammatical errors will never make it to the people who could possibly publish your work.)
Today’s BLOG deals with a writer who greatly influenced my writing career. He has created his ‘Ten Rules for Writing.’ I want to share them with you because we can all use inspiration from a well-known author.
Roddy Doyle is an Irish novelist, dramatist, and screenwriter who was born 8 May 1958. Several of his books have been made into films, including The Commitments in 1991.
He is perhaps the novelist most closely identified with the emergence of Ireland as a modern European nation. According to Britannica, he is “known for his unvarnished depiction of the working class in Ireland. Doyle’s distinctively Irish settings, style, mood, and phrasing made him a favorite fiction writer in his own country as well as overseas.”
He won the Booker Prize in 1993 for Paddy Clarke ha ha ha. His children’s book A Greyhound of a Girl was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal in 2013.
Roddy Doyle’s 10 Rules for Writing
- Do not place a photograph of your favorite author on your desk, especially if the author is one of the famous ones who committed suicide.
- Do be kind to yourself. Fill pages as quickly as possible; double space or write on every second line. Regard every new page as a small triumph –
- Until you get to Page 50, then calm down and start worrying about the quality. Do feel anxiety – it’s the job.
- Do give the work a name as quickly as possible. Own it and see it. Dickens knew Bleak House was going to be called Bleak House before he started writing it. The rest must have been easy.
- Do restrict your browsing to a few websites a day. Don’t go near the online bookies – unless it’s research.
- Do keep a thesaurus, but in the shed at the back of the garden or behind the fridge, somewhere that demands travel or effort. Chances are the words that come into your head will do fine, e.g., “horse,” “ran,” “said.”
- Do occasionally, give in to temptation. Wash the kitchen floor, hang out the washing. It’s research.
- Do change your mind. Good ideas are often murdered by better ones. I was working on a novel about a band called the Partitions. Then I decided to call them the Commitments.
- Do not search amazon.co.uk for the book you haven’t written yet.
Do spend a few minutes a day working on the cover bio – “He divides his time between Kabul and Tierra del Fuego.” But then get back to work.