Guidelines for Writing, First Draft 

I have recently been considering a set of guidelines for writers and have come up with an initial set of principles, listed below. These are by no means comprehensive and will continue to expand and evolve as time goes on, but provide a basis for further discussion. I welcome comments, inquiries, and constructive criticism.

Don’t worry about telling the literal truth. Be true to the characters; be true to the story; be true to the artistic vision.

The writing should always speak for itself. Never explain; never apologize, but always be willing to edit for clarity.

A writer should always listen to what the readers say about a piece, because that tells the writer what the readers are hearing. If the readers aren’t hearing what the writer intended to say, the writer should take another look.

Never consider anything finished. Always look for ways to be more concise. 

Use only the required amount of words necessary to convey the thought. The goal is to say as much as one can with the fewest words.

There is no such thing as realism in literature. All language is metaphorical, even when it conveys the facts. 

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