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  • Robert Heinlein`s Rules of Writing
    by Jekyll&Hyde at 07:27 on 01 March 2006
    Found this from a writing article by that sci-fi master Robert Heinlein. Thought some writers might find it interesting:

    I shall assume that you can type, that you know the accepted commercial format or can be trusted to look it up and follow it. Also, that you can spell and punctuate and can use grammar well enough to get by. These things are merely the word-carpenter's sharp tools. He must add to them these business habits:

    1. You must write.
    2. You must finish what you start.
    3. You must refrain from rewriting except to editorial order.
    4. You must put it on the market.
    5. You must keep it on the market until sold.

    The above five are amazingly hard to follow--which is why there are so few professional writers and so many aspirants, and which is why I am not afraid to give away the racket!

  • Re: Robert Heinlein`s Rules of Writing
    by mariaharris at 16:44 on 01 March 2006
    Good advice, although perhaps needs updating.

    -Never rewrite except under editorial advice? You have to expand that to include agents and paid readers. And it's more or less a given nowadays that as an unknown author you will be asked to rewrite.

    The last two bits of course are now in the hands of agents, by and large. So the author doesn't have too much control - agents will sell what they can when they can. I doubt if they'll plug away for ever!
  • Re: Robert Heinlein`s Rules of Writing
    by Jekyll&Hyde at 17:21 on 01 March 2006
    Hi Maria,

    It does need updating. Written in 1947.

    Heinlein was one of those rare breed of authors that barely revised what he wrote.

  • Re: Robert Heinlein`s Rules of Writing
    by CyberpunkVampire at 04:43 on 02 March 2006
    Yeah , very old.Still in the days of typewriters I guess not re-writing or editing your own work as u went along saved a lot of hassle.
  • Re: Robert Heinlein`s Rules of Writing
    by Jekyll&Hyde at 08:13 on 02 March 2006
    Cyberpunk, I once tried writing with a typewriter but it was too slow for my liking. Nice username, by the way.

  • Re: Robert Heinlein`s Rules of Writing
    by Becca at 08:37 on 03 March 2006
    Joe, your observation about typewriting is very accute. I frowned when I read 'refrain from re-writing' becase normally you'd be re-writing all the time, editing, adding, changing words etc. But, in the days of typewriters it was absurdly hard work. I had a manual typewriter when I lived in Africa in a place with not much electricity. I used to cut up sections of printed work and arrange them all on the floor, scribble all over them, give them codes, swap them about. It all got in such a muddle that I went back to writing by hand.
  • Re: Robert Heinlein`s Rules of Writing
    by EmmaD at 08:45 on 03 March 2006
    Yes, I cut-and-pasted to revise my first ever effort at a novel. Computers were around, but you couldn't keep more than a few chapters on the hard disk at once without it slowing and then crashing just as you'd done the best bit, and I was swapping stuff around and having to keep an eye on the whole novel at once. Easier by hand.