Neil Gaiman is without a doubt one of the most imaginative writers on the market today, so when he comes out with writing rules, you want to do exactly as he says. I love that his suggestions are not really “secrets”, but rather no-nonsense approaches to writing, with the first rule being to sit down and do it.
Check out all of Neil Gaiman’s Eight Rules for Writing below, then tell us your favorite one:
And to make it easy, the rules in text format:
- 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.
Pixar recently shared their 22 Rules to Phenomenal Story Telling and PBJ Publishing was nice enough to take them and turn them into this great infographic. It’s no secret that in movies today, Pixar as a company is leading the pack with some of the best movies since they began with “Toy Story”. Forget that they do animated films that are geared towards kids; I know more adults that look forward to the newest Pixar film as much or more than their children. Heck, even critics who wanted to find something wrong with “Brave” this year could only really say that it was great, just not as great as “Wall-E” or “Toy Story 3”.
I thought that as avid readers yourselves you would enjoy these rules because it’s fun to give a reason as to why some stories might fail. And, as many of you are undoubtedly secret or not-so-secret wannabe writers, it cannot hurt to emulate a bit of what Pixar has done.