Surprise! No Net and Scooby Snacks

Okay, you know that cool announcement I shared with you in my last blog, the one about Douglas Clegg's extraordinary plan to give back to the writing community? Well, I'll admit, I was a little bit envious that some lucky duck was going to get the benefit of Doug's amazing guidance as his first writing mentoree in the program--a once in a lifetime opportunity for sure--but my benevolent side prevailed and I started to feel really excited about Doug's plan. Big ideas tend to create brilliant ripples that inspire others, and this sort of thing makes me strangely happy. Yes, I'm a little odd that way.

Anyway, it had been a pretty tough month at the old Friel homestead, but the dust was starting to clear and I was going along minding my own business when I get a call from Doug. Well, needless to say, I was clueless when he asked if I wanted to be his first mentoree. I was stunned...and I'm still stunned. Talk about the planets aligning, lucky stars, good karma and huge blessings all rolled into one. I'm thrilled. I'm amazed. And I'm enormously grateful, to say the least.

We've begun working together and already I've gained some very important insights into my work and into my thinking process. This week, at my mentor's request, begins a BIG change for me that will make an enormous difference in my working life--No Internet during the work week! Yup, it's a little scary and there will be withdrawal, but I know it's a very important step toward my success in the writing world (and life). I'll still be around on the weekends, but with the exception of email, starting Monday, I'm cut off! It's going to be fun...eventually.

Steve Berry and Maui Dreamin'
As some of you might have noticed in my bios, I often talk about my Maui dreaming. Well, best selling author, Steve Berry, has been living the dream at least during the Maui Writers Conference. I'm determined to find my way to this conference one of these days, but in the meantime, I'm happy to chomp on the little Scooby Snacks that are tossed my way by those who have attended. I'm a good sharer, so following is a little Scooby love for your chomping enjoyment.

In the latest Writer's Digest Newsletter (subscribe to the newsletter here--they always have excellent "snacks" for writers), Steve shares his 8 Rules of Writing:

At the 2008 Maui Writers Conference, bestselling thriller writer Steve Berry says there are eight key rules that all writers must know and follow:

1. There are no rules. You can do anything you want as long as it works.

2. Don't bore the reader. You can bore the reader in a sentence, in a paragraph, by misusing words, poorly choosing words, using the wrong length, etc.

3. Don't confuse the reader. Don't misuse point of view. Don't do too much at once.

4. Don't get caught writing. Don't let you, the author, enter the story. (E.g., "And he never would see Memphis again." How would anyone other than the author know that the character would never see Memphis again?)

5. Shorter is always better. Write tight. It makes you use the best words in the right way.

6. Don't lie to the reader. It's OK to mislead, but don't lie. If you say the character's motivation is A and it turns out to be B (and you haven't foreshadowed it at all), the reader will feel cheated.

7. Don't annoy the reader. Don't use names that are hard to pronounce or write choppy sentences throughout the entire book. It keeps people from getting close to your characters.

8. You must tell a good story. Bad writing can be forgiven with a good story. A bad story with the most beautiful writing cannot.

I hope you enjoyed the Scooby Snack. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the "8 rules." Agree? Disagree? Your own rules?

I'll look forward to seeing you all in Maui someday soon!

Wickedly Yours,
Fran Friel