Guide to Successful Writing

There is no way this can ever be definitive. Let's get that one squared away right away. No-one can "make you a good author" in the same way that no-one can make me one. I just happen to write and people tell me it's acceptable. And then they ask me how to do it.

I've thought about 'how to do it' and I have no real idea. But the basic rules are very simple.

Let's start with a list of "No, don't ever do that's"

Please, if you want someone like me to enjoy your story, don't do some things:

There are some things you need to do, too:

There are some rules of punctuation in dialogue; the choice is between 'punctuation inside the quotes' and 'punctuation outside the quotes'.

The rules are open to interpretation, but the most common is to place the punctuation inside speech quotes ("), and outside the quotes for items ('). Look at the previous paragraph for an example!

Dialogue is easy if you follow this consistently. An example: "Morning, sleepyhead," said Peter. "It's going to be a great day!" He yawned, scratched his head and carried on, "Did you like it when I said 'I love you' last night?"

Notice the capitalisation despite commas flying around the place. And note a mix of " and ' makes it easy to understand.

Well that was a sort of 'rules segment', but actually writing is harder. There are no rules. But I have some suggestions. They are in the simple phrase 'use your eyes and tell me what you see'.

I want simple details about things all of my senses can find. I want to see, smell, touch, hear, taste what is in front of me. I want to feel your pain and pleasure. I want to love at least one of your characters. So take me in my head to the place in your head by using the words on the page that your imagination puts there.

Once you have a grasp of this and you have a finished story, or have finished sufficient for me to make a judgment, then you should submit it.