Well it was bound to provoke, wasn't it? Last Saturday's Guardian newspaper printed Elmore Leonard's already well known 10 rules and asked many other writers to provide their own, here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/feb/20/ten-rules-for-writing-fiction-part-one
I've come across the Leonard rules before so don't understand how come they are just being released as a book here. And I can't honestly be bothered to find out why. I hate writing rules!
If they worked, then everyone who followed them would produce similarly successful books, wouldn't they?
Here are a few taken at random:
Margeret Atwood - take 2 pencils so you can write on a plane because "pens leak" - honestly, I ask you! Did she get to be the great writer she is by eschewing biros? I don't think so.
Roddy Doyle - do not search amazon.co.uk for the book you haven't written yet. Is the man mad?
Richard Ford - don't have children. Back to the old Enemies of Promise premise, I see. How many male writers look after their own children?
P. D. James Increase your word power. This from a woman who misuses "fortuitous" in almost every novel.
Dip in almost anywhere and you will find such dross - this really is just filling column inches.
Tips, I can take. I've written some myself on www.maryhoffman.co.uk because so many teenage writers asked for them and it saves repeating myself (I think I have 10 rules for writing fantasy there but done tongue in cheek - do not let your plot hinge on a birthmark, for example)
Hints are good. I love hearing about the way writers work. I loved it when the Guardian ran those pictures and descriptions of writers' rooms.
Advice? Good when asked for and given by someone one respects.
But rules? Nah. Rules schmules.