There are 10 of them. I’ve borrowed liberally from Elmore Leonard’s, 10 Rules of Writing, which should be in every fiction writers library…..
1 – Never open a book with weather. If it’s only to create atmosphere, and not a character’s reaction to the weather, you don’t want to go on too long. The reader is apt to leaf ahead looking for people. There are exceptions. If you happen to be Barry Lopez, who has more ways than an Eskimo to describe ice and snow in his book Arctic Dreams, you can do all the weather reporting you want.
2 Avoid prologues: they can be annoying, especially a prologue following an introduction that comes after a foreword. But these are ordinarily found in non-fiction. A prologue in a novel is backstory, and you can drop it in anywhere you want. There is a prologue in John Steinbeck’s Sweet Thursday, but it’s OK because a character in the book makes the point of what my rules are all about. He says: “I like a lot of talk in a book and I don’t like to have nobody tell me what the guy that’s talking looks like. I want to figure out what he looks like from the way he talks.”
Inky: I will confess right now to breaking every one of the 10 rules Ms. Leonard listed.
This is a new category here are Inky’s Pen and why not? It’s called “Writing Tips” and will feature things I have learned and saved along the way beginning with Ms. Leonard’s rules.
Welcome to the serious side of Inky.
By the way the links listed in this post are not monetized. It is simply a road sign to the book.