I had hoped that I'd be doing a post about my nice clean office today. Unfortunately, it's not quite there yet. *sigh* The problem is, I don't just want a clean office, I want an organized office as well. And that seems to be taking forever.
However, one of the good things about going through files to better organize them is discovering little gems I'd forgotten about. Below is one of those gems. This piece was written by Sol Stein, the man behind The New Write Pro, a program designed for writers.
Thou shall not sprinkle characters into a pre-conceived plot lest thou produce hackwork. In the beginning was the character, then the word, and from the character's words is brought forth action.
Thou shall imbue thy heroes with faults and thy villains with charm, for it is the faults of the hero that bring forth his life, just as the charm of the villain is the honey with which he lures the innocent.
Thy characters shall steal, kill, dishonor their parents, bear false witness, and covet their neighbor's house, wife, manservant, maidservant, ox, and ass for readers crave such actions and yawn when thy characters are meek, innocent, forgiving, and peaceable.
Thou shall not saw the air with abstractions for readers, like maidens, are seduced by particularity.
Thou shall not mutter, whisper, blurt, bellow, or scream for it is the words and not the characterization of the words that must carry their own decibels.
Thou shall infect thy reader with anxiety, stress, and tension for those conditions that he deplores in life, he relishes in fiction.
Thy language shall be precise, clear, and bear the wings of angels for anything less is the province of businessmen and academics and not of writers.
Thou shall have no rest on the sabbath for thy characters shall live in thy mind and memory now and forever.
Thou shall not forget that dialogue is a foreign tongue, a semblance of speech and not a record of it, a language in which directness diminishes and obliqueness sings.
Above all, thou shall not vent thy emotions onto the reader for thy duty is to evoke the reader's emotions, and in that most of all lies the art of the writer.