Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Rules of Writing

By Courtney Diles

Do you ever sit down at the computer and open up the document you were working on until two in the morning last night, only to read something like the following?
The November snow was thin and slushy - almost as if the angels in heaven were brushing their teeth and dribbling toothpaste over the earth.
Mary Catherine Weir

Do you ever find yourself losing your audience?
The bone-chilling scream split the warm summer night in two, the first half being before the scream when it was fairly balmy and calm and pleasant for those who hadn't heard the scream at all, but not calm or balmy or even very nice for those who did hear the scream, discounting the little period of time during the actual scream itself when your ears might have been hearing it but your brain wasn't reacting yet to let you know.
Patricia E. Presutti

Do you make the mistake of writing moments of horror while you’re hungry?
The corpse exuded the irresistible aroma of a piquant, ancho chili glaze enticingly enhanced with a hint of fresh cilantro as it lay before him, coyly garnished by a garland of variegated radicchio and caramelized onions, and impishly drizzled with glistening rivulets of vintage balsamic vinegar and roasted garlic oil; yes, as he surveyed the body of the slain food critic slumped on the floor of the cozy, but nearly empty, bistro, a quick inventory of his senses told corpulent Inspector Moreau that this was, in all likelihood, an inside job.
Bob Perry

Does an excessive Shakespearean influence pervade your love scenes?
O glorious pubes! The ultimate triangle, whose angles delve to hell but point to paradise.... The fig, the fanny, the cranny, the quim - I'd come close to it now, this sudden blush, this ancient avenue, the end of all odysseys and epic aim of life, pulling at my prick now, pulling like a lodestone.
Christopher Rush

Well, there is always hope! The Edward Bulwer-Lytton Award goes out to the worst first lines of novels submitted every year. Go to for details on submitting and also to visit a link to an article about the 2007 Bad Sex in Fiction Award Winners!

Okay, okay, enough with the advertising. What do we really learn from the Edward Bulwer-Lytton Award, “Where WWW means Wretched Writers Welcome?” That the industry is going to hell.

Wrong! It means there are no real rules! At several of our critique meetings, I have heard people remind us: “You don’t have to change anything." "We only offer suggestions." "In the end, your writing is your writing.”

And I think that’s just swell. We have so many genres. We need to be open-minded. It’s important. I’ve personally had to open my mind to several genres and writing styles.

This blog is also the script for a video that can be found at

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a fun way to learn about writing! The excerpts perfectly merge with your comments. And your video is the perfect conclusion. LOVED it!