CB's Top 100 Writing

Tips, Tricks, Techniques and Tools

from the Advice Toolbox


Break the rules, not the writing




Carter Blakelaw

















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.




Section 1. Terms of Craft

Rule 0: Understand What Writers Mean by...

Section 2. How to Choose the Words You Use

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

Section 3: What's in a Sentence?

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

Section 4: Gluing Sentences Together

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

Section 5: Most Beginning Writers Never Guessed

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

Section 6: The Gossip That Got Us All Started

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

Section 7: Telling Tales

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

Section 8: Just Between You and Me, My Friend

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

Section 9: Extras: When Other People Get Involved

Rule 102: How to Triage Critiques, Feedback and Editorial Comment

Rule 103: Strictly Obey Submission Guidelines

Rule 104: Be Professional, Modest and Polite

Section 10: If There Is Only One Thing You Ever Do...

Appendix A: Bibliography

Appendix B: More Material Online

About the Author