by ryankl

I’m getting the feeling people don’t like Writing Rules, they don’t want a rigid structure of how it works to get worlds out of your brain, and they certainly didn’t warm to those laid down by Jonathan Franzen, but I’ll admit, I find them fascinating. A word I choose carefully.

I want to know what the masters think we should hold in our highest esteem, I want to know it from my peers, and nascent writers, and plenty of others. I want to look into everyone’s head and see what roads they follow. I won’t necessarily follow those rules, or even care about them, but the process of having them to read absolutely fascinates me. It’ll tell me more about the person’s mindset and style than it will about any universal truth of writing.

I dig books about writing, I dig blogs and podcasts and tweets about writing. I use them like I’m building up a pantry, but when I write I’m just cooking. I might have everything stockpiled, but I’ll only take out what I need for a specific recipe when the time comes. You dig?

But, in the spirit, I wanted to attempt to carve out my own ten tips, just suggestions, just from me, and then I could see what I thought rose to the top, so here goes:

The RKL Top 10 Writing Rules Tips

1 – Your story must be about stuff. And that stuff isn’t just a list of the things that happen, it’s why those things will matter to the reader, the truths beneath it all, the theme. Your writing will be amateur until you have something of meaning to say.

2 – Write so 1000 people will absolutely love you, not so 100,000 will think you’re kinda alright.

3 – Write about whatever gets you excited to sit down and write.

4 – Set small writing goals. 500 words/2 script pages a day. Then blast through them, sometimes.

5 – Have only one tab open while you’re writing.

6 – Think on paper.

7 – Are all your default lead characters straight white dudes? Why?

8 – Write whatever you want. Any genre, any length, any format. You might not find a paying home for it, but you’ll be true to yourself.

9 – Be inspired by your heroes, but don’t ape them. Let them fuel you with the courage to be yourself.

10 – Recharge your brain so it has more to write about. Read comics, watch movies, study the world, live life.


These points are very clearly by me, for me, and just for me. If you find them interesting, I’m glad. If they help you sharpen your own Top 10, fantastic. If your 10 are the polar opposite of mine, fill your boots, I bet we can still be mates.

I write about stuff like this all the time in my newsletter, statistically, there’s a chance one of you will like it, so here’s the link –