So I was reading this blog, Booth, about Jonathan Franzen, who according to the author of the blog, is “arguably the best living American writer”, and I believe I had read a book by him called Everything Is Illuminated, that is incorrect, that is written by Jonathan Safran Foer, and wait a minute…I apologize for the atrocious grammar here, but those names are oddly familiar! Anyways in searching Franzen’s bibliography, I had never in fact read anything by the author (unfortunate indeed), I found this great list of his rules which I thought I would share with you writers out there. Here they are copied and pasted for your pleasure. (Again sincere apologies for the bad grammar. I was feeling ornery, I guess.)
1. The reader is a friend, not an adversary, not a spectator.
2. Fiction that isn’t an author’s personal adventure into the frightening or the unknown isn’t worth writing for anything but money.
3. Never use the word “then” as a conjunction – we have “and” for this purpose. Substituting “then” is the lazy or tone-deaf writer’s non-solution to the problem of too many “ands” on the page.
4. Write in the third person unless a really distinctive first-person voice offers itself irresistibly.
5. When information becomes free and universally accessible, voluminous research for a novel is devalued along with it.
6. The most purely autobiographical fiction requires pure invention. Nobody ever wrote a more autobiographical story than “The Metamorphosis”.
7. You see more sitting still than chasing after.
8. It’s doubtful that anyone with an internet connection at his workplace is writing good fiction [the TIME magazine cover story detailed how Franzen physically disables the Net portal on his writing laptop].
9. Interesting verbs are seldom very interesting.
10. You have to love before you can be relentless. (Goddamn is this one a home run!!!!!!!)
Source for List: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Franzen
Source For Ranty Introduction: Jane McNamara, John McMulin, Fish Oil, Ginseng, 8 cups of Coffee, French Toast, a Turkey Sandwich, Yogurt, Free Time, Austin McMulin