Writing fiction, Writing life

I wrote this some years ago about the process of writing – it’s my own set of guidelines.


1. Do not assume that your characters know everything; what they do not know they can discover along with the reader.
2. Nothing comes without effort; on one level or another your characters must strive: emotionally, spiritually, physically, or all three.
3. Mystery is important – withholding, unfolding, witholding, unfolding.
4. Remember the importance of the gift, chosen at the right time for the right person for the right reasons.
5. Remember the importance of ritual, from the routines of daily life to celebrations of the extraordinary to the altar in the corner.
6. Writing must have a rhythm and a response, an action and a rebound.
7. Your language must be serene in its confident understanding of the characters’ springs of motion.
8. Your writing must move the reader to some emotion; this is a given, but what is not a given is that the emotional byplay which resonates in the reader is that movement toward and away from the great emotion of life itself.
9. Your writing must engage the reader’s interest strongly; this is best achieved by leaving space where the reader may fill in his own conjectures and imaginings. The reader is always a co-creator of the novel.
10. The writer must understand his own motivations for wanting others to read his or her work.


  1. Great guidelines! I will look back on this while I am writing my book! 🙂

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