Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Heinlein Experiment

Have you guys seen Heinlein's Rules?

Robert A. Heinlein had these five simple rules for making it as a writer, originally appearing in his essay "On the Writing of Speculative Fiction", but some people believe they're as true now, and for any genre, as they were then for speculative fiction:

1. You must write.
2. You must finish what you write.
3. You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order.
4. You must put the work on the market.
5. You must keep the work on the market until it is sold.

Robert J. Sawyer has a great blog post that goes into a bit more depth on these classic rules. Rule number 3 is sometimes maligned, but he interpets it as "No tweaking" not "No polishing".

I've mentioned before that I'm doing Write 1, Sub 1, and in a way that's forcing me to follow Heinlein's rules whether I agree with them or not.  I have a story to write every week and I have to sub a story every week, so... I guess I'm doing things Heinlein's way. And as long as I'm doing that anyway, I guess I might as well follow these rules purposefully and see what happens. That means over the course of this year, I'll write over 50 stories (4 down so far) and submit at least as many times.  I'm curious to see where I end up in 2011 - publication credits or no, that's a lot of writing practice!

What do you think of Heinlein's rules?


Misha said...

I think they're easy in theory.

But I know that in practice rewrites must be done. As must shelving of projects.

But that might just be me.


Old Kitty said...

Oooh I don't know about no.3!! I'm forever re-writing! LOL!! Maybe that's where I'm going wrong! LOL!!

But good luck with your 50+ stories!!!! Wow!!! That's just so amazing and so so so brilliant for you to be aiming for!! And of course you can do this too!! Yay!!!

Take care

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

I completely agree and embrace those rules. In fact, I wrote a motivational letter to myself (I'm a geek!) which pretty much incorporates these tenets into my goals for 2011.

Thanks for signing up for my BPBlogest. Looking forward to it!

gideon 86 said...

Good luck with your goal. I saw that and said NO WAY! I admire anyone who can keep up with that schedule.

The rules sound great, but I'd have to agree, no re-writes...

I think not!


W.B. said...

Those rules are very helpful, and they're so true.

Simon Kewin said...

I think they're wonderful. The "not rewriting" one is obviously controversial - but I absolutely get what he means.

Arlee Bird said...

I think it's a great set of rules and your efforts are to be commended.

Do you want to Blog from A to Z in April? Click the link below for details.

Tossing It Out and the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2011

Katie said...

I like the rules except number three. Some parts desperately need to be edited and revised. But there is such a thing as over-editing.

<>< Katie

Carol Riggs said...

Good rules there. I know I can start rewriting/revising too soon, and I just need to get the rough draft down first! Great thing to keep in mind for my WiP. Whew, good luck with your impressive goal there!

Katie Ganshert said...

Hey girl - I loved your honest question on my blog today. I answered it if you want to take a look. Thanks again for the follow!

Jen Daiker said...

I think they're simple rules in theory but very hard to master. I think as time goes on you'll learn to edit in your mind allowing for less (or no) editing along the rest of the journey.

I commend you for taking the journey and I look forward to get a full report in 2012 on how it went down!

Guess what I'm saying is: HAPPY WRITING!