Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Ten Commandments of Writing

I just finished reading John Dufresne's The Lie That Tells a Truth, and it has become my new favorite book on craft. It's full of mind-blowingly practical, and yet brilliant, suggestions, rules, and prompts. About a quarter of the way through, I came across his "Ten Commandments of Writing," and I decided I'm going to write them on a card and post them near my writing desk. As an MFA student, I hear these things all the time, but it's helpful to see them gathered together in one place. What are the Ten Commandments of Writing, you ask? They are as follows:

1. Sit Your Ass in the Chair.

2. Thou Shalt Not Bore the Reader.

3. Remember to Keep Holy Your Writing Time.

4. Honor the Lives of Your Characters.

5. Thou Shalt Not Be Obscure.

6. Thou Shalt Show and Not Tell.

7. Thou Shalt Steal. (No, that's not a typo.)

8. Thou Shalt Rewrite and Rewrite again. And again.

9. Thou Shalt Confront the Human Condition.

10.Be Sure That Every Death in a Story Means Something.

The Lie That Tells a Truth, John Dufresne, 2003

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