From Anne R. Allen’s Blog:
Somerset Maugham famously said, “There are three rules for writing. Unfortunately, nobody knows what they are.”
But pretty much everybody you meet in this business will tell you there are a whole bunch. (One is “never start a sentence with ‘there are’” —so watch yourself, Mr. Maugham.)
I recently read a great post by editor Jamie Chavez about what she calls the Secret Fiction Rule book. She points out that nobody knows where these “rules” come from, or why so many great books have become classics without following a single one. But that doesn’t seem to matter. You will hear this stuff repeated over and over again at conferences, critique groups and forums.
Take them all with several shakers of salt. Most are true some of the time, but if you follow them rigidly, you’ll end up with wooden, formulaic prose that nobody is going to want to read.
Here are ten of my unfavorites.
. . . .
2. Eliminate all adverbs. Seriously? Even when you’re writing in the voice of someone who is, um, rather vague?
3. No prologues. Yeah, I know I’ve preached the no-prologue gospel because so many beginning authors use them for unreadable info-dumping, but my readers keep pointing out that George R. R. Martin seems to do OK and he loves them. I think it depends on your genre and what your readers expect. Personally, I’ll skip it, but I’m probably not your target audience.
. . . .
6. Cut the last paragraph of every chapter. This annoys me no end. I write great last paragraphs.
Link to the rest at Anne R. Allen’s Blog