Collect everything you have gathered and put it in a folder, an electronic document, a notebook or whatever you like.
Andrzej Krauze Elmore Leonard: Using adverbs is a mortal sin 1 Never open a book with weather. But these are ordinarily found in non-fiction.
A prologue in a novel is backstory, and you can drop it in anywhere you want.
There is a prologue in John Steinbeck's Sweet Thursday, but it's OK because a character in the book makes the point of what my rules are all about. The line of dialogue belongs to the character; the verb is the writer sticking his nose in.
But "said" is far less intrusive than "grumbled", "gasped", "cautioned", "lied". I once noticed Mary McCarthy ending a line of dialogue with "she asseverated" and had to stop reading and go to the dictionary. To use an adverb this way or almost any way is a mortal sin.
The writer is now exposing himself in earnest, using a word that distracts and can interrupt the rhythm of the exchange. You are allowed no more than two or three perwords of prose.
If you have the knack of playing with exclaimers the way Tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful. This rule doesn't require an explanation. I have noticed that writers who use "suddenly" tend to exercise less control in the application of exclamation points.
Notice the way Annie Proulx captures the flavour of Wyoming voices in her book of short stories Close Range. You don't want descriptions that bring the action, the flow of the story, to a standstill.
Think of what you skip reading a novel: My most important rule is one that sums up the Diana Athill 1 Read it aloud to yourself because that's the only way to be sure the rhythms of the sentences are OK prose rhythms are too complex and subtle to be thought out — they can be got right only by ear.
Almost always it turns out that they'd be better dead. Not every little twinge of satisfaction is suspect — it's the ones which amount to a sort of smug glee you must watch out for.
Margaret Atwood 1 Take a pencil to write with on aeroplanes. But if the pencil breaks, you can't sharpen it on the plane, because you can't take knives with you. In a pinch, pieces of wood or your arm will do. This is likely to work better if you can hold your own.
But you don't know who the reader is, so it's like shooting fish with a slingshot in the dark. You don't get a pension plan. You've seen how the rabbits were smuggled into the hat. Therefore ask a reading friend or two to look at it before you give it to anyone in the publishing business.
If you're lost in the plot or blocked, retrace your steps to where you went wrong.B.
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It’s time once again to review those nasty errors that damage our credibility when we write.
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