Hilary Mantel’s Rules for Writers

There are many, many articles out there containing advice for new and developing writers. I skim through most of them, head nodding, thinking ‘Yes, I do that’. The other day I stumbled across this article on writing from 2010 by Hilary Mantel which raised some points I hadn’t thought much about before.


Several of  the ‘rules’ resonated for me.
Concentrate your narrative energy on the point of change and Description must work for its place.  I will keep these points in mind for my next round of revision. It is easy to use description of place as a way of adding colour, particularly in historical fiction, and for those of us still learning the craft, it can almost be nothing more than filler and a way of displaying our research.
First paragraphs can often be struck out. Are you performing a haka, or just shuffling your feet? Oh yes, that  one struck a chord. I’ve learnt to avoid the prologue but I will be looking closely at my first paragraphs from now on. And even when you try so hard to do the haka, sometimes you just don’t quite achieve it.

And the real thing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.