three rules

W. Somerset Maugham said:

There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.

There’s always a period early in the evolution of a new novel where I’m absolutely sure that I’m done and finished and will never write again and I’m about jumping out of my skin with agitation. But somebody else (can’t remember who) said: if there’s a story in you, it has to come out. I’ve been through this so often now that I know that’s true. It just doesn’t feel true right now.

The best part of writing is stopping. Or it would be, if I could.


4 Replies to “three rules”

  1. Are we a bit flummoxed? The one I really like is an E.L. Doctorow quote: “Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”

    Of course, if you’re going to get picky and want a roadmap or freak lightning storm to show you more, you’re out of luck [g].

  2. Here’s one of my favorite quotes about reading…

    “Virgins and matrons, reading these my rimes,
    Shall be so much delighted with thy story
    They shall grieve they lived not in these times”
    Michael Drayton, British poet

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