More Rules of Writing Fiction From The Best

Stephen King has written many novels, but one of his popular books is called, Stephen King On Writing and offers twenty solid rules for writing. I loved the book capturing Kings’ unique wit and candor and his rules are great. If these twenty rules intrigue you and you want to learn more, re-read or purchase his book and enjoy information about his life, how he became a writer and how he writes. You’ll benefit in many ways.

1. First write for yourself, and then worry about the audience.
2. Don’t use passive voice
3. Avoid Adverbs4. Avoid adverbs, especially after “he said” and “she said.”
5. But don’t obsess over perfect grammar.
6. The magic is in you.
7. Read, read, read widely and constantly.
8. Don’t worry about making other people happy
9. Turn off the TV and focus on writing
10. You have three months for your first draft, any length novel.
11. There are two secrets to success: good health and stable relationships.
12. Write one word at a time.
13. Eliminate distraction: avoid. TV, and games including solitaire
14. Stick to your own style without emulating another writer.
15. Dig, meaning be creative search, seek, delve for the best story.
16. Take a break and look at your novel with fresh eyes.
17. Leave out the boring parts and kill your darlings for pacing.
18. The research shouldn’t overshadow the story.
19. You become a writer simply by reading and writing.
20. Writing is about getting happy. Love what you’re doing.

James Patterson has sold cumulatively more books than any other author, estimated to be 220 million. Here are Patterson top ten writing tips:

1. Make extensive outlines.
2. Write stories and not sentences
3. Learn the rules before you decide to break them.
4. Follow your passion
5. Revel in your creativity
6. Be willing to persevere
7. Avoid preconceptions and keep you mind open to plot change.
8. Research, research, research!
9. Know your audience
10. Find a trusted critic.

Janet Evanovich is the well-known author of the Stephanie Plum books and has written many books on the art of writing fiction. Here are ten writing tips, she suggests, you can’t ignore.

1. “Don’t fall into the trap of rewriting chapter one until it’s perfect. And don’t discard everything you write halfway through because you’re sure it sucks. Writing stuff that sucks is part of the learning process!”2. “A character’s dialogue and actions should be unique to him.”
3. “Names are critical. They really can set up and define a character.”
4. “Engage all the senses when describing a place.”
5. “Dialogue defines a character. Even in the most basic of conversations between two people, there will be distinct differences in how they speak to each other.”
6. “A good plot draws its energy from the reader’s curiosity.”
7. [First drafts are] “a gift to a writer. The fact that no one but you will ever see your early work – unless you want them to – lets you pour onto the paper whatever damn words you choose, knowing you can go back to fix them later.”
8. “Write something every day, even if it means getting just a few sentences on the screen.”
9. “Is the ending important? Hey, this is where your reader will decide if he should buy your next book.”
10. “The odds are stacked against a book that’s self-published. It’s hard enough for a general trade publisher to find distribution.” 

Nicholas Sparks, the best selling author of 16 novels, has had seven of his books made into movies: Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember, The Notebook, Nights in Rodanthe, Dear John, The Last Song and The Lucky One out soon. His thoughts are different than the others but you’ll find the first ten interesting. The last ten are practical and useful.

1. Learn the craft
2. Write 2,000 Words A Day
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Write Out of Order
4. Write About Your Family as their stories influence yours.
5. Keep Your Future Movie in Mind
6. Know publishing is a business.
7. Success can be defined any number of ways: let your version be your definition, work for your book to be in the store a few months then keep your day job and consider publishing the novel yourself or work so it sells.
8. Find an agent
9. Learn how to write a query letter and proposal to sell.
10. Find a publisher.

Ten More Lessons From Nicholas Sparks

1. Tell a Universal Story: I set out to write easy-to-read, entertaining, original love stories with a poignant endings, ones that generate genuine emotion – with universal themes and universal characters. In terms of style, I attempt to write with efficiency, conciseness, and originality in uncluttered, vigorous prose.

2. Consider Narrative and Emotion: My ideas never come easily. Generally, I work through hundreds of ideas and characters (a process that can take months) before finally making my decision and beginning to write. Once I’ve decided on the theme, I start to mentally outline the story and run through possible ideas. Before I start writing, I know how the story begins and ends, as well as five or six of the major events in the novel, which serve as turning points. Once I have those things, I’m ready to begin.

3. Storytelling is a Process and can take as long as three months to conceive of a story, and in the end, it usually takes four or five months to complete a novel, not counting editing, which adds an additional month or so. The “thinking” stage is the most challenging.

4. Involve the Reader for these reasons: my books’ popularity are: the novels are easy-to-read and entertaining, the reader is made to feel like “a fly on the wall” and feels involved in the story, readers can relate to the characters, the stories are believable, as if they could happen to anyone, they are deeply romantic, they lack profanity, and they make readers both laugh and cry. Again, these are universal qualities that I strive for.

5. Mirror Life’s Emotions and the best dramatic stories allow the readers to experience a full range of emotions. Hopefully, my readers feel a bit of everything—empathy, hopefulness, happiness, love, anger and sadness—as they turn the pages of my novels.

Do’s for Writing Romance
6. Create ordinary characters that do extraordinary things. I try to create characters who are familiar enough to be relatable-but who are moved by the power of love to do extraordinary things.

7. Explore the full range of human emotions. Love stories aren’t just love stories-they’re also stories about anger, disappointment, disillusionment, betrayal, healing, happiness, and, ultimately, hope. Love isn’t a simple emotion-it embodies a full range of emotions, and it’s important to capture them all.

8. Create bittersweet endings. A great story won’t leave you with the feeling of unadulterated satisfaction; instead, it might be at once life-affirming and heartbreaking. Life, because it is fleeting, is inherently sad, and yet I try to portray the emotions and relationships that define it as eternal and worthy of celebration.

9. Create internal conflict to parallel external conflict. As interesting as external forces-embittered ex or controlling parents-are the internal questions that haunt each character privately: Do I love him? Does he love me? Is this the right decision? Can I survive this? These inner conflicts and dilemmas end up informing the story as powerfully as any plot device.

10. Give fate a role to play. In The Lucky One, Logan might well have discovered the picture of Beth that saved his life and merely kept it as a keepsake or charm; instead, he decides to search for the woman in the photo across the country. I always try to create characters who act upon the seemingly random opportunities that life presents—agents of change who are also able to seize upon the chances and clues offered them.


If you have a favorite novelist and have a list of thier writing tips, send it along. I’m happy to give you credit and add them to another blog post.



Leave a comment
  1. Elva Cobb Martin November 23, 2013 at 6:46 pm #

    Great information Gail! Thanks for sharing with us.
    Elva Martin,President new ACFW-SC chapter

  2. Davalynn Spencer November 24, 2013 at 3:27 pm #

    These are so good – and it’s interesting to see a couple of contradictions between the greats! Thanks for putting these together.

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