CB's Top 100 Writing
Tips, Tricks, Techniques and Tools
from the Advice Toolbox
Break the rules, not the writing
CB's Top 100 Writing Tips, Tricks, Techniques and Tools from the Advice Toolbox: Break the rules, not the writing
First eBook edition. January 12, 2021.
© 2020, Carter Blakelaw. All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
Published by The Logic of Dreams
Requests to publish work from this book should be sent to:
While every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this book, the publisher assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions, or for damages resulting from the use of the information contained herein.
Cover art and book design by Sanja Baletic & Jack Calverley
Photograph by Florian Klauer and Pawel Czerwinski from www.unsplash.com.
Rule 0: Understand What Writers Mean by...
Rule 1: Anchor the Reader in Your World
Rule 2: Make the Reader Feel Your World
Rule 3: Tie the Reader to Your Specific Vision
Rule 4: Speed-Feed Your Reader's Imagination
Rule 5: Make Some Descriptions Four-Dimensional
Rule 6: Keep Your Reader's Nose to the Text
Rule 7: Sprinkle with the Reader's Favorite Spice
Rule 8: Keep Your Reader Close to the Action
Rule 9: Make Each Blow Count
Rule 10: Lazy Writing Is Easy
Rule 11: Don't Pet the Dog!
Rule 12: You Had to Be There, Buddy
Rule 13: Write for Magnetic Reading
Rule 14: Write in a Billiard Ball World
Rule 15: Write with Your Mouth Open
Rule 16: Write Against the Beat of Drums
Rule 17: Slow, Slow, Quick, Quick, Slow
Rule 18: Don't Race Against the Clock
Rule 19: Include the Missing Link
Rule 20: When to Jazz It Up
Rule 21: Live Life on a Diet
Rule 22: Mainline Your Words
Rule 23: No Peace, No Rest, No Sleep
Rule 24: I Told You I Done the Deed
Rule 25: Rhyme Means Blues
Rule 26: Upstaging
Rule 27: Small Talk
Rule 28: An Unnatural Act
Rule 29: A Blunt Instrument
Rule 30: Phonetically Speaking...
Rule 31: Another Tornado of Words
Rule 32: Out of This World
Rule 33: More of the Same?
Rule 34: A Red Rocket Tumbled from the Sky
Rule 35: The Railway Timetable
Rule 36: She, Who What?
Rule 37: "There Is No Rule 37," Say The Grammar Police
Rule 38: Quoting Chapter and Verse
Rule 39: Stick a Pin in the Map
Rule 40: What's the Point?
Rule 41: A Riddle, Wrapped in a Mystery, Inside an Enigma
Rule 42: He Said, She Said, They Intoned
Rule 43: Advertising Needs and Wants
Rule 44: Choppy Waters
Rule 45: A Question of Variety
Rule 46: Never Letting Up
Rule 47: What's That Got to Do with the Price of Bread?
Rule 48: All Right, Mr. DeMille, I'm Ready for My Close-up
Rule 49: He Thought, She Thought, They Agonized
Rule 50: Sticky Prose
Rule 51: The Domino Effect
Rule 52: You Don't Need a Stopwatch
Rule 53: The One and the Many
Rule 54: An Indulgence in Contemporary Life
Rule 55: That Mysterious Statue in the Forest
Rule 56: The Airdrop and the Easter Egg
Rule 57: How to Decide What to Write
Rule 58: Getting Character from Plot
Rule 59: Getting Plot from Character
Rule 60: It's Not Funny and It's Not Clever
Rule 61: Remind Me: Which Was Which?
Rule 62: I Got Stuck Over the Name
Rule 63: But He Meant Well
Rule 64: What the Protagonist Does
Rule 65: What the Protagonist Is at Heart
Rule 66: Winning by a Hair's Breadth
Rule 67: The Four-Dimensional Foe
Rule 68: Everyone Faces a Different Way
Rule 69: Force the Reader to Take an Interest
Rule 70: A Bad Hair Day Is No Excuse
Rule 71: The Superpower
Rule 72: I Laughed So Much It Made Me Cry
Rule 73: Whose Story Is It to Tell?
Rule 74: Prepare for the Inevitable
Rule 75: The Ubiquitous Versus the Common
Rule 76: A Sure-Fire Way to Dump the Reader
Rule 77: Enjoy the Long March
Rule 78: Seeing Is Not Believing
Rule 79: Don't Over-Egg the Pudding
Rule 80: Leave It Out, Mate!
Rule 81: The Unreal Body Part
Rule 82: Sing Your Own Song
Rule 83: Through Gritted Teeth, She Told the Tale
Rule 84: A Second Coat of Paint
Rule 85: The Writer as Graphic Designer
Rule 86: Catastrophic Genius
Rule 87: Swearing on a Stack of Your Books
Rule 88: The Dialogue Between You and Your Reader
Rule 89: Roll up! Roll up! Read All About It!
Rule 90: Think Big
Rule 91: Story Shorthand
Rule 92: Order out of Chaos
Rule 93: What Time Do You Call This?
Rule 94: Once Upon a Time
Rule 95: Fishing and Story-Bait
Rule 96: Laugh or Cry?
Rule 97: Your New Best Friend
Rule 98: If There Were Only One Rule It Would Be This
Rule 99: Tub-Thumping
Rule 100: Common Advice
Rule 101: The End Is the End
Rule 102: How to Triage Critiques, Feedback and Editorial Comment
Rule 103: Strictly Obey Submission Guidelines
Rule 104: Be Professional, Modest and Polite