Ten Rules for Writing Fiction

In The Guardian’s “Ten Rules for Writing Fiction“, Will Self says:

You know that sickening feeling of inadequacy and over-exposure you feel when you look upon your own empurpled prose? Relax into the awareness that this ghastly sensation will never, ever leave you, no matter how successful and publicly lauded you become. It is intrinsic to the real business of writing and should be cherished.

Sometimes, when I look back over my own work–even the stories that got me into Iowa–they seem so awkward and garish to me. I get annoyed at my own prose–my quirks, my tendencies towards certain themes. I completely understand that this sensation is my own insecurity, my own anxiety, and is something that I have to work through. Sometimes the stories aren’t perfect, and can require anything from several, focused revisions/drafts to a major overhaul. But it’s nice to know that this frustration is by no means unusual, and is in fact critical to the process of writing and publishing.

Not a major revelation, I know.  But it’s always nice to be reminded that I am in good company.

2 thoughts on “Ten Rules for Writing Fiction

  1. LOVE this quote. And I love what you said. This is the core of the struggle… some days I can accept it as simply that, the universal struggle, and other days I internalize the crap out of it and nearly give up. Thank you for reminding me NEVER to give in! You rock. Keep it up 🙂

    ~Diana (Jon’s not-so-little little sis)

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