Monday, March 08, 2010

A writer on writers on writing

On the BBC Writersroom blog, Dominic Mitchell, one of the writers on the BBC Northern Voices scheme, lays into writers holding forth about writing.
There's a big old pompous article in the Guardian Books Section entitled 10 RULES FOR WRITING inspired by Elmore Leonard's Ten Rules (yeah, Elmore Leonard, that great literary giant) that's tipped me into a twisted rage this week. The Guard have asked some crusty and seemingly bitter authors to impart their withering wisdom and the result is stomach turning...

As you might have guessed this pushes all sorts of buttons inside of me. Red buttons. Big red buttons with nuclear insignias all over them. I wouldn't mind if the rules from these writers were drizzled with a touch of humility and self effacing humor. But they aren't. Most are smeared with contempt for me and you, the lowly student.


  1. Anonymous5:55 pm

    'What a load of twaddle!' said he angrily. 'I don't like rules and especially if I have to re-read them until I chuck them.' He then got up and nearly hit his oversized head on the door as he left - without his straw hat.

  2. Stanley Price6:13 pm

    Absolutely the right action to Guardian
    literary TWADDLE -- pretentious, patronising
    and po-faced .

    Stanley Price, unpretentious, un-patronising
    and humorously handsome.

  3. Anonymous7:35 pm

    Why does he have a go at Elmore Leonard? He's a skilled and economical writer. Is it because he's a genre writer, in crime fiction no less, that the man doesn't respect him? Having said that, I agree that the article was pointless, especially given that the most difficult problem facing writers today isn't the actual writing, it's getting an agent, and then finding a publisher.

  4. Susan Grossman said:
    what worries me is that you call youself a lowly student -'rules' clearly remind you of your schooldays. Writing is the stuff of free will - but selling it, that's another story.

  5. Anonymous10:13 pm

    Yes, another article encouraging green inkers to think that, if they follow the 'Rules', they will be discovered as the next Big Literary Thing. How amusing that the angry young man took it all so seriously.


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