Skip to main content

1. Never snack while writing; consume only complete meals - a starch, two vegetables and one serving lean protein (remember that one serving is about the size of a pack of playing cards.)

2. Marry somebody who will cook this.

3. When revising, consider whether you have written anything that will hurt or offend a member of your immediate family. If the answer is no, go back and add something.

Story continues below advertisement

4. It's doubtful that any fiction worth reading has been produced on a computer running Windows Vista.

5. Keep a copy of Islands in the Stream by Ernest Hemingway on the left hand side of your desk. Keep Fitzgerald's The Crack Up on the right. When you get stuck, pick them up and pretend that they are having a fight, like you used to do with your GI Joes. Just sort of bash them together for a while.

6. Never use dogs to symbolize anything. That is ridiculous. Always ensure that any dogs are just dogs; i.e., characters in the story who happen to be dogs.

7. Actually, never write about dogs.

8. And it probably is a good idea to avoid symbolism.

9. If an irate reader should break into your home, tie you to a chair and terrorize you with selections from the cutlery drawer, think back to your most recent novel. Was its point of view inconsistent? Did you at any time make use of the second person, or urban slang, even ironically? Did you attempt to underscore the significance of an action by describing it as having been performed "to the max"? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, accept what you have coming.

10. Remember: Writing is freedom.

Story continues below advertisement

Lynn Coady is the award-winning author of the novels Strange Heaven and Mean Boy, with another one currently in the oven. She also writes the Group Therapy column in Globe Life.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter