Happy Birthday, Mary Hoffman, born 20 April 1945
Mary Hoffman’s Top 10 Rules for Would-be Fantasy Writers
- Beautiful people can be very boring.
- Distinguish between an identifier and an annoying verbal or behavioural tic.
- People without flaws can be very boring.
- Don’t build in merchandising opportunities.
- Don’t use linguistic inversions or, if you must, use them VERY sparingly.
- You are not an estate agent or fashion retailer. Don’t describe houses and clothes as if you were.
- On no account ever let a plot hinge on a birthmark.
- Don’t get carried away by names.
- Remember – your readers will have read the same books as you.
- A series of exciting events is not a plot.
Read More of Mary Hoffman’s Writing Advice
- I write on my laptop – on my lap! I know you are not supposed to but I do and have had no problems with neck or back. I sit on the green sofa in my green and white ground floor study, which has French windows to the garden at the back of my house. Drawbacks include this being the place where the three cats bring their prey/presents for me.
- When I swim, three times a week before breakfast, I think about what I’m going to write that day. I am much more creative in the mornings than in the afternoons and evenings.
- I run the writing as a business, with one overworked and overstretched employee – me! But she has a very understanding boss so that if I as worker ask me as employer for a day off the answer is always yes.
- When the writing is going really well (usually the last third of a book) and everything is coming together and all the set-ups have pay-offs and a very complex plot is beginning to twist and plait itself under your fingers to a satisfying whole – that’s the best – like flying.
- Write a lot. Don’t worry about publication, or anything else. Just write and see what happens. It might turn into a story; it might not. Write because it would hurt if you didn’t.
Hoffman is the best-selling British author of the Amazing Grace book series. Hoffman has authored more than 80 children’s books, including the Stravaganza series.
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