Subscribe to newsletter
Subscribe to my Newsletter
Get my newsletter delivered to your email:
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Free First Chapter.

DOWNLOAD NOW

Free First Chapter

Please enter your details and we'll email you the first chapter
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

‘Ice-pick-sharp, packed with intrigue, action and spine-chilling suspense. Devour will keep you gripped from the very first page’ Kathryn Fox

Larkin's Latest

Welcome to my blog, Larkin’s Latest. News on thriller authors and great books to read, the writing process and festivals, incredible people I interview and exciting story locations, courses I run, and things that make me laugh!

10 Rules for Writing Fiction?

February 20, 2010

I’ve been flicking through this article in the UK’s The Guardian newspaper, in which various famous authors give you their ten rules for writing fiction. Here’s the link to Part 1:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/feb/20/ten-rules-for-writing-fiction-part-one

Some of Elmore Leonard’s comments really resonated with me, but I like to remind myself that rules are there to be broken, and sometimes by breaking them you can achieve something very impactful. But I try to do it sparingly.

I very much agree with the comment on never opening a novel with the weather (Rule 1). “It was a dark and stormy night” has been done to death. Because of my genre, I’m focused on the action but I do find that the environment around the action can reinforce the mood of the scene.

And I totally agree with his Rule 10 about deleting anything you would skip if you were the reader. But it’s always easier to notice unnecessary narrative in other people’s work, and much harder to spot in your own. As a reader I love a fast-paced plot and I cannot bear to wade through long-winded descriptions of people or place. Drives me nuts, so I skip.

Leonard’s Rule 4 – never use an adverb to modify the verb “said” – is a real poke in the eye for author’s like Dan Brown, who loves his characters reproaching angrily or whispering creepily. I’m of the opinion that adverbs need to be used very carefully, and yes, they are tempting. Dan Brown’s novels are so dramatic that I find his use of adverbs work well and theyr eflect his unique style as an author.

Do adverbs annoy you or do they help you visualise a character’s mood?

> Read More

Subscribe to my Newsletter

Get my newsletter delivered to your email and get a sneak peek of my new thriller, Prey and discover where Olivia Wolfe is off to next.