The Only 7 Writing Rules You’ll Ever Need


My passion for storyology started at a typical young age, but with a desire to do it forever. That's why before I started my true writing journey, I taught writing and reading in high school classrooms in AZ. Later, I started writing part-time toward a goal of being published. All the while, trying to help others like me with my storyology blog.

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16 Responses

  1. Brian t MccDermott says:

    Thank for your powerful writing tips. I am old dude starting or wanting to be a writer.

    • Ashley says:

      That’s the best time to start because you have more stories to tell and have experienced enough as a person to make real stories–not what we want to happen, but what actually does.

      I’m glad you’re finding your passions!

  2. Keith Munro says:

    Good advice. And I’m glad I’m not the only one who rails against rules in writing. The one I just don’t get, and I’ve heard it many times, is: “Don’t use adverbs.” I’m not suggesting that one should proliferate one’s writing with them. As in all things, they should be used judiciously, as in the example I have just given. In his novel, Ulysses, sometimes cited as the greatest novel written in the English language in the 20th Century, James Joyce employs 7 adverbs on the first page and I’m neither outraged nor offended by that.

  3. Aakruti velani says:

    its actually needed to be told for beginner of writer,who wants to write..its helped alot to me..thank u ashley…

  4. Jamie Yates says:

    Having done and overdone a lot of what the rules say to not do….Now what. Or, What now? Too much on my mind to say well soon. DEAR IR, I love the way SK
    said write to you. And I wonder, Why isn’t you capitalized like I always is?

  5. A nice and useful list, but I’m surprised you didn’t pluck any rules from the best writing rules list ever written, by Elmore Leonard. He prefaces his list with a note that I think is as useful as his rules (this is the first sentence): “These are rules I’ve picked up along the way to help me remain invisible when I’m writing a book, to help me show rather than tell what’s taking place in the story.” This valuable point is often overlooked when discussing these famous rules:
    –Never Open a Book With Weather
    –Avoid Prologues
    –Never Use a Verb Other than “Said” to Carry Dialogue
    –Never Use an Adverb to Modify the Verb “Said”
    –Keep Your Exclamation Points Under Control
    –Never Use the Words “Suddenly” or “All Hell Broke Loose”
    –Use Regional Dialect, Patois, Sparingly
    –Avoid Detailed Descriptions of Characters
    –Don’t Go Into Great Detail Describing Places and Things
    –Try to Leave Out The Part That Readers Tend to Skip
    –If It Sounds Like Writing, I Rewrite It

    • Kate Hegarty says:

      I’m so glad that JK Rowling ignored this list. Not to mention Austen and Dickens. Elmore is remarkably controlling for a novelist. He needs to take a pew.

  6. Robert says:

    These rules are spot on. Absolutely a great post and rules by which we can live as writers. From my personal experience, I would like to suggest the need to feel confident as you write. Write what you know needs to be told and write it honestly. In the editing/rewrite process for my novel, I found myself doubting what I had written. That fear only hindered my effort. Write the best that you can at the moment you are writing. No apologies. There is time to edit and polish. Believe in yourself and what you have to share.

  7. Nikki says:

    This is a great post! My first thought after reading the intro was, ” I have to thank this woman for doing all of that research, for saving me the time and energy!” I know I would’ve done the same thing!

  8. Rob Bradfield says:

    In your introduction you say . . . There are just as many ways to do it wrong as there is to do it right.
    It should read . . . There are just as many ways to do it wrong as there ARE to do it right.


  9. Keith says:

    “Never use adverbs”
    If you can’t use them then why are they in the dictionary? Pick up a best seller and you’ll find plenty of adverbs!

    This is poor advice.

    • Ania Kiplan says:

      I understand your frustration with that one because I write with adverbs, too. It’s not that you can’t use them as much as there are better ways to write than to use them.
      Also, keep in mind that a best-seller doesn’t indicate good content. That’s just good marketing.

      • The Pretty Pearl says:

        You’re correct on that last point, amigo. Some books just make me want to slam my head against a wall.

    • Kate Hegarty says:

      I wholly agree. When tags are done well, no one notices them.

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