A.L. Kennedy's 10 Rules for Writing Fiction

A.L. Kennedy’s 10 Rules for Writing Fiction


In this post, we share Scottish writer, A.L. Kennedy’s 10 rules for writing fiction.

A.L. Kennedy (Alison Louise Kennedy) is a Scottish writer. She is the author of 17 books: 6 literary novels, 1 science fiction novel, 7 short story collections and 3 works of non-fiction, and a book called On Writing.

She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She was twice included in the Granta Best of Young British Novelists list. She has won a host of awards, including the Costa Book of the Year for her novel Day.

She is a dramatist for the stage, radio, television, and film. She also writes and performs one-person shows. She writes for a number of UK and overseas publications and for The Guardian Online.

She was born 22 October 1965.

Visit her website: A.L. Kennedy 

A.L. Kennedy’s 10 Rules for Writing Fiction

  1. Have humility. Older/more ­experienced/more convincing writers may offer rules and varieties of advice. ­Consider what they say. However, don’t automatically give them charge of your brain, or anything else – they might be bitter, twisted, burned-out, manipulative, or just not very like you.
  2. Have more humility. Remember you don’t know the limits of your own abilities. Successful or not, if you keep pushing beyond yourself, you will enrich your own life – and maybe even please a few strangers.
  3. Defend others. You can, of course, steal stories and attributes from family and friends, fill in filecards after lovemaking and so forth. It might be better to celebrate those you love – and love itself – by writing in such a way that everyone keeps their privacy and dignity intact.
  4. Defend your work. Organisations, institutions and individuals will often think they know best about your work – especially if they are paying you. When you genuinely believe their decisions would damage your work – walk away. Run away. The money doesn’t matter that much.
  5. Defend yourself. Find out what keeps you happy, motivated, and creative.
  6. Write. No amount of self-inflicted misery, altered states, black pullovers or being publicly obnoxious will ever add up to your being a writer. Writers write. On you go.
  7. Read. As much as you can. As deeply and widely and nourishingly and irritatingly as you can. And the good things will make you remember them, so you won’t need to take notes.
  8. Be without fear. This is impossible, but let the small fears drive your rewriting and set aside the large ones ­until they behave – then use them, maybe even write them. Too much fear and all you’ll get is silence.
  9. Remember you love writing. It wouldn’t be worth it if you didn’t. If the love fades, do what you need to and get it back.
  10. Remember writing doesn’t love you. It doesn’t care. Nevertheless, it can behave with remarkable generosity. Speak well of it, encourage others, pass it on.

This advice first appeared in The Guardian

Source for image: Wikipedia

 by Amanda Patterson

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