The 10 Rules You Really Need For Writing (That Are Much Better Than That Other Guy’s)

Frustrated Writer

It has come to my attention recently that some writer on the internets has put out a list of the ten rules for writing a book, those things made of paper and ink and probably including words. Dearest reader, I took a look at this so-called “list” and I am gravely sorry to inform you that it is extraordinarily, preternaturally, stupefyingly, subversively, painstakingly, vociferously, cantaloup-ishly wrong. By the heavens, has this “Manzen” fellow ever written a book?

Meanwhile, I, the most humble, have indeed written many a book, and am currently waiting on two and a half agents to recognize my genius. So, I thought I would do you a favor and set the record straight. In such an order as to maximize their astronomical alignments, here are The Ten Rules You Really Need For Writing:

10. In order to be a writer, you must watch Dolly Parton’s Celebration! Dinner Show at least once every three years, preferably at its Dollywood location. Every writer does this. Me and Rowling just went last week. It was the shit.

9. Write a word. No, sorry, that’s the wrong word. How could you choose that word? I’m really quite disappointed in you. Go sit in the corner and think about it, and try another word in an hour.

8. Look at my cat. Isn’t he great?

A photo of a 20-pound orange striped tabby cat laying on a tartan blanket.
There’s no real rule here, I just wanted to include a picture of my cat.

7. Pinochle night is on Thursdays. Be there or I’m sorry, your novel will not sell. Also, you might be executed. If you don’t know how to play pinochle, then you will be forced to sit at the kids’ table with the genre writers who talk about, I dunno, alien sex or some shit.

6. Don’t research anything. Make shit up with confidence and pay no attention to the naysayers who want “facts” and all their other nitpicky details. Readers can sense weakness, so also make sure your book can T-pose to assert itself.

6. Art is a sacred endeavor that requires careful rituals to succeed. Spin around in your office chair with pants on your head, while reading a new page of the dictionary aloud for every hundred words you write. (It must be a different page every time. The pants don’t have to be yours.) Sorry, I don’t make the rules… oh, wait, I do make the rules!

4. If your book fails to smell like leather and sandalwood, you will not attract any of the mysterious female readership who have unknowable ways of thinking. You might be able to save it by including a white male author as your protagonist who totally doesn’t look like you or anything.

π. Purple Oxygen Volvo International Banana Fanna Fo Fanna Synecdoche Infographic.

2. Don’t use “nincompoop” in a novel, EVER, unless you are referencing a particularly foolish alpaca.

1. The secret to writing well is to write about wells, actually.

Tia Kalla

Tia Kalla

Longtime writer, temporary office minion, and nerd of all trades, tiakall is a fan of lengthy subordinate clauses and the Oxford comma. She enjoys plants, cats, puns of varying quality, and making cannibal jokes before it was cool.