Philip Whiteley's Blog

January 19, 2015

Ten habits for good writing (I think)

Filed under: Uncategorized — felipewh @ 7:30 pm

Motivated by this Guardian article, where different writers offer their ’10 rules for writing’, here are mine:
1. Read, and read great books. Love them.
2. Write the world that you know about – write the book you would want to read.
3. Be bold. Adopt the phrase ‘My book, my rules.’
4. Show, don’t tell – except for the rare occasions on which telling the reader will surprise and delight them. Learning good judgement on this takes about 35 years unless you’re Charlotte Brontë.
5. Learn poetry by heart.
6. Learn another language. It helps you appreciate your own and how to use it.
7. Edit in your mind, especially when walking. Having a dog helps.
8. Be aware of your soul, and your consciousness, and complexity. Life is full of paradox and so is a great book. Understand your beliefs and nurture them. You cannot escape belief.
9. Be curious and unprejudiced. If you don’t like religion, learn about a religion. If you don’t like secularism, learn about humanism. Show respect.
10. Imagine you have some of the world’s best actors sat round your dining table for a read-through (Kevin Spacey, Sheridan Smith, Tamsin Greig, Samantha Bond….). They’re going to read the dialogue that you have written. How confident do you feel, handing out the scripts?

The unofficial eleventh is – don’t be too sure of yourself. Some of the above may not be quite right, or may not work for everyone, except obviously the first and the tenth.


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