Wednesday 2 February 2011


Those eyebrows are imparting knowledge :)

Thriller writer, Steve Berry, has created eight rules that all writers should know and follow. These rules are tight - simple - maybe that was Jodie Renner's Editing

1. There are no rules. This one is liberating but scary: do anything you want as long as it works. 

2. Don't bore the reader.  Using the wrong length anything, can make the reader switch off. 

3. Don't confuse the reader. Explain. Remember the reader: don't try do too much at the same time. >< Limit point of view. 

4. Don't get caught writing. Don't let the author, enter the story. ("And he never would see Memphis again.")  I've seen it done in MG: it can be quirky but a little awkward.

5. Shorter is always better. For cleaner writing, use the best words in their concentrated form. (Why am I thinking about the washing I've been ignoring?;))

6. Don't lie to the reader. If you say the character's motivation is A and it turns out to be B you have to have foreshadowed it. Characters, like regular people, lie to themselves about why they are doing things. Readers are happy when writers include behavioural cues as clues (and avoid assonance and alliteration.) 

7. Don't annoy the reader. Anything that keeps people from getting close to the characters, or pulls them out of the narrative - unpronounceable names, choppy sentence construction, deviating from the action  for a brief history or geography lesson - should be avoided 

8. You must tell a good story.  
Bad writing with a good story might find an agent with faith, patience and a big red pen. A bad story with the most beautiful writing? Maybe not.

Using the criteria above, my Betas, on the first read through, would have scored me  4/8. (1,2,6,8) I'm going to ask my Mum to Beta that should solve all my problems, straight away. ;)

Did you see Andrew Rosenberg, The Write Runner, @iapetus999, post on Pitching: The Whoa factor. It was very useful on how to take the essence of the story and pitch the tension rather than condense 50,000 words into 30 or less. 


  1. Love this list. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hi Christopher
    They are deceptively simple but essential too :)

  3. Thanks for posting this list- it is helpful!

  4. Hi Summer
    Steve Berry's rules are great :)

    Hi Patti
    Simple but so important when you want to win over readers :)

  5. Excellent - love a good list and this one is tops :-)

  6. Super rules! I agree with them all.

  7. Great rules. These, I might actually be able to live with. ;-P

  8. Wonderful rules to follow and remember. I think I'll post them by my computer to remind me what not to do. Thanks! :D

  9. Hi Charmaine
    His is list is a powerful tool. :)

    Hi Clarissa
    They are so sensible and short enough not to bore ;)

    Hi Misha
    They are great. Gotta say I love them.

    Hi Brenda
    I have put them up next to my "RAISE THE STAKES" post-it :)

  10. Nice list, and thanks for the mention!

  11. Hi Andrew
    No problem :) I learned a lot from that post. I hope other people do too.

  12. LOL I love your solution. :D

  13. Great rules! It must be the eyebrows :)

  14. Hi Stina
    Can't help thinking it would take less time and effort in re-editing ;) (Love you Mummy :))

    Hi Sherrie
    The power is in the eyebrows, they entrap the listener ;)

  15. Those are great guidelines to keep in mind while revising. (Not rules! There are no rules!)

    Thanks for sharing, and I hope you have a great time in the A-Z challenge this April! I'm going to be trying it out too.