Sandra Brown’s Ten Rules of Writing
1. Rewrite the first sentence of your book a thousand times if that’s what it takes to make it perfect.
2. Stop writing before the end of the scene; then you always have a place to start the next day.
3. If your characters need to move through time and space but nothing happens along the way, get them into the next scene in a sentence or less.4. “Write what you know.” Seriously? Rather, write what you imagine. It’ll be much more fun for you and for the reader.
5. Don’t be a ’fraidy cat. A tragedy should be tragic. A thriller should be scary. Don’t write timidly because you’re afraid of offending somebody. It’s a given that if you’re in print, you’re going to offend somebody with something, so write to your personal comfort level.
6. Watch what a character does and write it down. It’s amazing how much the author, then the reader, can learn about a character by his/her smallest actions. But, a little can go a long way. Too much and your character sounds palsied.7. Listen to what your character says and write it down. You can change it, maybe substitute a word here and there, but the character usually speaks with spontaneity, and that’s how dialog should sound—as though it came straight from the character’s mouth with no clever tweaking done byyou.
8. Keep your head out of the clouds. Or, don’t put the cart before the horse. Before you plan your appearance on “The Today Show,” concentrate on writing a good book.9. Keep your mind on your work. Emphasis on your. That’s really the only thing you can control—not your best friend’s or worst enemy’s #1 bestseller, not market trends, not your editor being fired. When you can’t manipulate events, manipulate your plot.10. Keep your butt in the chair. Attend conferences; join critique groups and organizations for writers; talk, talk, talk books and writing. But at some point, you must sit alone at a keyboard for hours on end and put words on paper. If there’s a shortcut to writing, I haven’t found it yet.