The (at least) 10 Rules of Writing

Elmore Leonard’s famous 10 rules have just been published in book form (with brilliantly sinuous, hard-boiled drawings by Joseph Ciardiello) in the UK, but you can read them for nowt here on The Guardian’s website, along with more 10 rulers from Diana Athill, Margaret Atwood, Roddy Doyle, Helen Dunmore, Geoff Dyer, Anne Enright, Richard Ford, Jonathan Franzen, Esther Freud, Neil Gaiman, David Hare, PD James, AL Kennedy Hilary Mantel, Michael Moorcock, Michael Morpurgo, Andrew Motion, Joyce Carol Oates, Annie Proulx, Philip Pullman, Ian Rankin, Will Self, Helen Simpson, Zadie Smith, Colm Tóibín, Rose Tremain, Sarah Waters, and Jeanette Winterson.

Leonard’s rules also featured on BBC2′s Culture Show and be viewed/downloaded here.

The Guardian contributors’ rules elicitied a nice tetchy response from Lynne Reid Banks (the author of The Indian in the Cupboard) in a letter published in last Saturday’s (6 March) Review section. Sadly, this isn’t published on the website, but ends with her Rule No 3:

“For God’s sake, know your place in the scheme of things. The world will wag on very well without you as a writer – as it can’t without the practitioners of some other professions, such as medicine, science, bus-driving and plumbing.”

Feel free to comment with your own rules and ways of bending, breaking and doing without them.