What would you say are some of the basic rules, or standards, for writing great literary fiction?
We all know "Show, don't tell." And there's the understanding that the reader won't care what happens in the book if s/he doesn't care about its characters. And the reader won't care about the characters if they don't seem real; and they won't seem real if there isn't a little good in your bad guys, and some some bad in your good guys.
What other guidelines have you grown a lot as a writer from following?
Care to share?
It's funny, because I often hear people talk about "rules," such as "every chapter must have tension" or "you can't have an incidental character who appears only one time." And then I read a novel that breaks those rules quite successfully.
This just makes me want to figure out ways to break rules, which interferes with my writing time.
One thing I like to see when I'm reading, and try to do when I'm writing, is a strong sense of where (physically) my character is in relation to the setting and to other characters. Is this a rule? I don't think so. But I do think that paying attention to this small point makes for more vivid scenes and action
Hey, I have a list of 25 here: http://www.yellowwallpaperwriters.com/2011/05/25-novel-writing-rules/
Tongue firmly in cheek.....