Happy Birthday, Jane Yolen, born 11 February 1939
10 of Jane Yolen’s 20 Rules of Writing from Ingrid’s Notes
- Eschew the exclamation point!
- Go easy on the adverbs.
- Don’t let characters float on the page. Anchor them with action. No talking endlessly!
- BIC = Butt In Chair. HOP = Heart On Page. PNF = Passion Not Fashion. You may never be the best but you can always get better.
- No one expects a happy ending unless it’s a fairy tale. We need a meaningful ending. It may not be easy. Hard choices are good.
- Not everything should be simplified. Complexity adds richness.
- Exercise the drawing/writing muscle! Don’t get flabby! One page a day and you have a 365 page book by the end of the year, or that many picture books. Exercise!
- Read what you have written out loud. It will help you to see what you have missed.
- Dealing with the dreaded writer’s block. It is all in your mind. The solution is to stand up, walk, eat, do other things! Distract yourself. If that doesn’t work, start a new writing project. Don’t go read a book, you will get that authors voice in your head instead of your own.
- Not every project will be completed. Moaning about this is for sissies.
Jane Yolen’s rules of writing were presented as the closing keynote address at the SCBWI New York Winter Conference in January 2010. Read all 20 rules here.
Jane Yolen is an American writer of fantasy, science fiction, and children’s books. She is the author or editor of more than 280 books, including The Devil’s Arithmetic, Sister Emily’s Lightship, Lost Girls, and Owl Moon.
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