If people weren't so stupid, we wouldn't need these rules.


In my next 5, I will review The Age of the Conglomerates by Thomas Nevins, but in the meantime, I want to share with all writers everywhere a few basic principles I learned from reading this book that all should apply:

    Thou shalt figure out what thy story is about before thou starteth--or, if though dost not, at least go back and rewrite thy ignorance for pete's sake.

    Thou shalt not have a character mope around thinking "What about this?" for a hundred pages and not let us readers in on what this is. That's a cheater's means to suspence and bad writing.

    Thou shalt not treat obsolete technology as wowza 2048 innovations.

    Thou shalt not try to impress with thy knowledge of New York City streets. I'm really sick of writers doing that.

    Thou shalt not assign groups names just because seem cool; thous shalt instead be sure that the names are plausible first and cool second.

    Thou shalt not overrely on temporary amnesia as an expositional device. OR far any reason, really.

    Thou shalt not avoid obvious questions just because the answers screw up thine easiest plot paths.

    Thou shalt not consider a clever idea a well formed idea until it is actually a well formed idea.

    Thou shalt not have thy characters see amazing things and have them keep mentioning these amazing things without telling us what those amazing things are. (Corollary: Thou shalt know what amazing things thy characters see.)

    Thou shalt not say thy characters know what they knoweth not.

    Thou shalt not disregard the realities of anatomy.

    Thou shalt remember that the future is in the future and part of the future's past is also in the future.

    Thou shalt show and not tell. I mean seriously.

    Thou shalt not disregard popular conventions just because thou art lazy.

    Thou shalt not, every time thou switcheth scenes, give thy characters a tour of the house.

    Thy characters shalt not remember things they never knew.

    Thou shalt not create a technologically-advanced future society less advanced than our own.

get a jump and read the review now


  1. You forgot:

    Thou shalt not use words such as "perspicacious", "victual" or other rare and otherwise unused/ignored words more than once (and on the rare occasion when a novel is Tolstoy-length, twice).

    Thou shalt not introduce the character seven times throughout the book unless they're being presented to someone in a formal situation and you have to drag out their name for that purpose (cf. 1632 and listing the titles of Gustav Adolf and the other characters each time we run into them)

    Thou shalt not recap what happened in the last three chapters everytime you start a new chapter.
    (cf 1632-Series, Dune Prequels).

    Sorry. Had to get them off me chest.

  2. What about rules for the publishing houses that publish those books?

  3. .

    Yeah, seriously. Do tell.

  4. I vote they be drug out and shot.