July 26, 2010

Commandments for Writers Series: #1

I'm reading Sol Stein's Stein on Writing and frankly, I love it. I read the beginning, then I've sort of skipped around, skimming here and there, and now I'll go back and read through it with a highlighter. But at the end of the book, Sol (let's call him Sol) gives us the Ten Commandments for Writers. They are genius. I thought it would be fun to go through Sol's Commandments as a series here on this blog.

1 Thou shalt not sprinkle characters into a preconceived plot lest thou produce hackwork. In the beginning was the character, then the word, and from the character's words is brought forth action.

Have your stories stemmed from characters? A character you just couldn't let stand there, but had to give him something to do? Not just something to do, but something to fight, to wrestle, to battle, to conquer? Because this character was someone worth the hours of plotting, hair-pulling, hand-wrenching, no sleep, pacing as your readers read, facing scrutiny and rejection for? Am I being overly dramatic? AM I?

Are your characters worth it? Click here for a Character Development list. Make them worth it.


Ann Best said...

Characters are definitely central, which I think is the understatement of the century. What is a story without them?

KarenG said...

I just finished his book as well, rereading as I revised my wip. Being more of a character-driven writer than plot-driven, I love this commandment!

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