Friday, February 19, 2010

Ten Rules for Writing Fiction


Ten rules for writing fiction

Get an accountant, abstain from sex and similes, cut, rewrite, then cut and rewrite again – if all else fails, pray. Inspired by Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules of Writing, we asked authors for their personal dos and don'ts...

part one
part two

About a year ago, a friend and I noticed a theme running through many New Yorker poems: With astounding frequency, they were about writing poetry. Can New Yorker Poets Write About Anything Besides Poetry?

On the passing of the great Lucille Clifton

the message of crazy horse
Lucille Clifton

i would sit in the center of the world,
the Black Hills hooped around me and
dream of my dancing horse. my wife

was Black Shawl who gave me the daughter
i called They Are Afraid Of Her.
i was afraid of nothing

except Black Buffalo Woman.
my love for her i wore
instead of feathers. i did not dance

i dreamed. i am dreaming now
across the worlds. my medicine is strong.
my medicine is strong in the Black basket
of these fingers. i come again through this

Black Buffalo woman. hear me;
the hoop of the world is breaking.
fire burns in the four directions.
the dreamers are running away from the hills.
i have seen it. i am crazy horse.


Rob said...

I agree with the initial list, and some of the later lists were amusing. (Are you still allowed to carry pencils on flights?)

John B. Burroughs said...

Ah, yes! I encountered the Elmore list works through Facebook links and considered posting them here - was pleased to see you beat me to it and threw in a wonderful Clifton piece for good measure. Kudos!


The poet doesn't invent. He listens. ~Jean Cocteau