Creative writing students often hope that there's secret truth about how to write that will be revealed once they start their course, and that published writers possess the keys to the kingdom. But the sorry truth is that there is no secret, there is no magic formula, there is no mysterious How To Write Fiction book that will suddenly make it easy (apart from this one, of course!).
The fact is, there are no rules for good writing. Matters of taste and fashion apart, good writing these days can be as structurally conventional and yet deeply satisfying as Colm Toibin's rewarding look at Henry James in The Master or as original and ground-breaking as Ali Smith's anti-novel Hotel World. So, in the absence of a secret formula, here are five rules to provoke you into thinking again about what and how you are writing.