There's no end
to the things you might know, depending how far beyond Zebra you go! {Dr. Seuss}

Friday, April 20, 2012

R is for Roald’s Rules for Writers


Google Images



7 Valuable Ways of Becoming a Better Writer from Roald Dahl’s story “Lucky Break–How I Became a Writer” included in the collection The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More by Roald Dahl:
1. You should have a lively imagination.
2. You should be able to write well. By that I mean you should be able to make a scene come alive in the reader’s mind.
3. You must have stamina. In other words, you must be able to stick with what you are doing and never give up, for hour after hour, day after day, week after week, and month after month.
4. You must be a perfectionist. That means you must never be satisfied with what you have written until you have rewritten it again and again, making it as good as you possibly can.
5. You must have strong self-discipline. You are working alone. No one is employing you. No one is around to fire you if you don’t turn up for work, or to tick you off if you start slacking.
6. It helps a lot if you have a keen sense of humor. This is not essential when writing for grown-ups, but for children it’s vital.
7. You must have a degree of humility. The writer that thinks that his or her work is marvelous is heading for trouble.
Do you agree/disagree with Roald Dahl's advice? What’s your favorite Roald Dahl book or story? Though I love all of his books, my favorite is James and the Giant Peach!
Have a wonderful weekend, Zigzaggers!!!

28 comments:

Kyra Lennon said...

Matilda is my favourite Road Dahl book! :D I think his advice is excellent! :D

mooderino said...

I like his short story collections, very dark and funny. Charlie and the chocolate factory for kids.

mood
Moody Writing
@mooderino
The Funnily Enough

Clarissa Draper said...

Wonderful rules!

Journaling Woman said...

Great choice for R. Roald is one of my favs.

Teresa

Steph Sessa said...

Oh definitely stamina and self-discipline. I think that's key to finishing any manuscript. The others you can work on, but if you never finish a MS ie. no stamina or self-discipline, then you'll never be able to work on the others.

M.J. Fifield said...

Well, I like to think I have all those requirement. Except maybe for the self discipline one...

My favorite is James and the Giant Peach too.

SA Larsenッ said...

Great rules, but I don't particularly agree with the perfection rule. Yes, we must strive for it, but if we focus on perfection too much it can stifle creativity, at least for me. Let it flow and that perfection will become more natural.

Have a great weekend.

Jack said...

Thanks for the tips! I really appreciate them! :)

Shelley Sly said...

All of these are excellent points! He's a wise man. :)

Corinne OFlynn said...

Excellent rules! Love Roald Dahl. My favorites are James and the Giant Peach and of course Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Julie Jordan Scott said...

Wow - this is awesome! I have always loved Roald Dahl's work and now, I feel sort of like I have been inside his inner sanctum, thanks to you!!!

Hooray for rules for writers!

Hooray for A to Z!

Julie Jordan Scott
Fellow A to Z Challenge Writer
twitter: @juliejordanscot
R is for Rosmarie
On a Mission to Spread Word-Love Throughout the World

Libby said...

Number 7 is SOOOOOOO TRUE. Actually, they all are, that's just the one that resonates with me most this morning as I go back to editing again and again... :)

Bluestocking said...

I like all of these rules except for the one about perfectionism. I certainly believe you should send out your best work and have the goal of creating your best work in the first place, but for something to be "perfect" well, you can spend a lot of time chasing perfection, when you should move on and write other things. A nice idea but maybe not always a realistic one.

Chris Fries said...

Great Rules!

I like these! And they also mesh well with Heinlein's Rules for Writing:

1. You Must Write
2. Finish What You Start
3. Refrain from (excessive) Rewriting
4. Put Your Story on The Market
5. Keep it on the Market until Sold

This is summarized well in Robert J. Sawyer's well-known post on the subject:

http://www.sfwriter.com/ow05.htm

Shannon O'Donnell said...

L-O-V-E this!! I'm totally stealing it to share with my classes! :-)

Great post, Laura!

Jaycee DeLorenzo said...

I'm a B.F.G. fan myself. :D

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Good tips! I wonder about the perfectionist one though - as a "recovering perfectionist" I've learned there's no such thing as "perfect," not really. Besides, if I'm not careful, I'll never submit anything ever. :)

Laura Marcella said...

Kyra- I love Matilda, too! I so wish I had her intelligence!

Mood- I was thrilled to discover he wrote for adults, too. My husband gave me Roald Dahl's complete short story collection for my birthday a couple years ago. It's excellent!!

Clarissa- Thank you!! I think so too.

Teresa- Thanks!! He's one of my favorite, too.

Steph- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! Absolutely, that is so true. It takes hard work to start writing and to finish. Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting!!

M.J.- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! LoL, I hear you! Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting!!

Sheri- Well, if you read the explanation, Roald says you have to revise and revise until it's the best it can be. He suggested you shouldn't be happy with just the first draft. I don't think he meant perfectionism literally!

Jack- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! You're welcome and I'm glad you like them! Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting!!

Shelley- He sure was! Roald is one of my favorite authors.

Corinne- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! Oooo, yes both are excellent! It really is hard to choose a favorite. Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting!!

Julie- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! You're welcome and I'm glad you liked them! Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting!!

Libby- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! Good luck with your editing! Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting!!

Bluestocking- Well, if you read the explanation, Roald says you have to revise and revise until it's the best it can be. He suggested you shouldn't be happy with just the first draft. I don't think he meant perfectionism literally!

Chris- Ooo, these are excellent. Thanks so much for sharing!!

Shannon- Definitely do so!! That short story collection is a great one, too. Your classes might like it!

Jaycee- I love that one, too!! It really is so hard to choose a favorite Roald Dahl story.

Madeline- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! Well, if you read the explanation, Roald says you have to revise and then revise again until it's the best it can be. He suggested you shouldn't be happy with just the first draft. I don't think he meant perfectionism literally! Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting!!

Paula Martin said...

Excellent rules, I agree with them all.

Dana said...

I think he's right on with all of his points. :)

Martha said...

Definitely good rules. When I was younger I always wanted to be a writer but since I can't follow the rules I'm a babbling blogger instead :)

DonnaGalanti said...

Adore this! And Dahl too. I have all his books, especially love Henry Sugar and Danny the Champion of the World. Enjoyed reading his "Lucky Break" and how he got into writing - and those horrid stories of English boarding school! Love his advice here. When I lived in England I got one of his books every time the tooth fairy came - now my son has those books.

Laura Marcella said...

Paula- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! I agree with them, too! Roald was a wise author. :) Thank you for stopping by and commenting!!

Dana- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! I agree! Roald knew what he was talking about. :) Thank you for stopping by and commenting!!

Martha- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! You're still a writer! So you should give your inner writer another go. :) Thank you for stopping by and commenting and I appreciate the follow!!


Donna- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! I LOVE the idea of receiving a book from the tooth fairy!! How cool! My brother had all of his books, but I snagged them for a few years. Then he had a son, who's now nearly 6, so last year I thought it'd be nice to give them back so he could share the wonder that is Roald Dahl with his son. :) So I bought my own copies! I also have Roald's complete short story collection for adults. It's excellent! Thank you for stopping by and commenting!!

valerieksloan.com said...

Love this! Glad to see I fit these. xD Nice to know that perfectionism comes in hand, even when it drives me bonkers.

Susanne Drazic said...

Great choice for the letter R.

My son did a book report (years ago) on one of Roald Dahl's books.

Medeia Sharif said...

James and the Giant Peach is also my favorite.

I've read several of his books and I have a few more to go through.

I love his writing, and thanks for sharing his list.

Cherie said...

I agree with no 3 and 5..
We must have a good stamina and self discipline to keep writing.
Nice R posting, Laura.

Laura Marcella said...

Valerie- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! It's good to revise and revise and revise again. But you must eventually deem it as good as it can be so you can submit and write something new! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Susanne- Thanks! Roald Dahl's books are some of my favorites. His short stories for adults are fantastic, too!

Medeia- Once you finish his books definitely check out his short stories for adults!!

Cherie- Hello and welcome to Wavy Lines! Absolutely!! Writers definitely need those two things. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!