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Rules of Thumb

71 Authors Reveal Their Fiction Writing Fixations


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Rules of Thumb

71 Authors Reveal Their Fiction Writing Fixations
by Michael Martone and Susan Neville
Writer's Digest Books, 2006
ISBN 978-1-58297-391-3
$19.99 hardcover, 240 pages

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About the Book

Whether it’s the simplest of prohibitions (don’t use too many adjectives), or a cherished writing maxim (show, don’t tell), all writers have a rule of thumb that guides their work. In this book, more than 70 contemporary writers share their own, including:

Jiro Adachi
Steve Almond
John Barth
Steven Barthelme
Janet Burroway
Robert Olen Butler
Lydia Davis
Stephen Dixon
Molly Giles
Robin Hemley
Brian Kiteley
Bret Lott
Paul Maliszewski
Erin McGraw
Pablo Medina
Ander Monson
Rick Moody
Stewart O’Nan
Gina Ochsner
Thisbe Nissen
Scott Russell Sanders
Barb Shoup
Joan Silber
Joseph Skibell
Melanie Rae Thom
Steve Tomasula
Jane Yolen

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Ignoring Your Characters’ Desires

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The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is ignoring your characters’ desires.

Listening to Ghosts: 7 Metaphysical Experiments for Writing Support

Listening to Ghosts: 7 Metaphysical Experiments for Writing Support

Author Coco Picard shares 7 different out-of-body writing experiments to help you through the writing process.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Dance Time

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Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have your characters dance.

Convention-al Wisdom: Why I Love Attending Cons as a Writer

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Russell James shares how convention act as more than networking events for writers, but as an opportunity to be face-to-face with your readers, to make new friends, and more.

Alicia Thompson: On Writing Romance in Isolating Times

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Writer Alicia Thompson discusses what she learned about herself in writing her new romance novel, Love in the Time of Serial Killers.

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This post collects 60 examples of hooks for books. Also called elevator pitches, these book hooks show real-life examples in a variety of writing genres for fiction and nonfiction books.

How To Turn Artifacts and Research Into a Family Memoir

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A century’s old family heirloom acted as a clue to the past for author Cornelia Maude Spelman. Here, she shares how to turn artifacts and research into a family memoir.

Miriam Parker: On Writing the Book You Want To Read

Miriam Parker: On Writing the Book You Want To Read

Author and publisher Miriam Parker discusses her surprise at writing her new novel, Room and Board.

Poetry Prompt

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Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a story poem.