24.1.11

The Ten Commandments of Reading, Writing and Publishing

       Back in the dark depths of last year (well, November) Vintage Books ran a competition on Twitter that asked their followers to define the 10 commandments of reading, writing and publishing, and there'd be a prize (books, obv.) for the suggestions that made the final cut. A surprisingly hard thing to do, as it turns out, especially when combined with the obligatory 140 character limit that is the Twitter standard. I came up with numbers 1, 3, 5 and 10 at the time, but have been musing on the others since then. So, here we go (still sticking to the 140 character limit):



  1. Thou shalt decide what you want to say with a piece and just say it, as cleanly and powerfully as you can.
  2. Thou shalt occasionally judge a book by its cover; these things aren't random after all.
  3. Thou shalt use the classics as a benchmark. If no-one's going to care about a book in 20/50/100 years' time, why should you?
  4. Thou shalt give books as presents. Nothing is more touching or thoughtful when you know the person and get it right.
  5. Thou shalt not disguise the 'perfect guy for her' with awkward friendship/unsuitability/a beard. We spotted him in the prologue.
  6. Thou shalt give a bad book the benefit of the doubt through the 1st chapter, a warning in the 2nd and the boot in the 3rd.
  7. 'Blonde', 'brunette' and 'redhead' are not synonymous with personality types. Put some meat on their bones.
  8. Readers, writers, publishers: Thou shalt be patient, and hang in there when the signs are good.
  9. Thou shalt live in books almost as fervently as in real life; use them as the window through which you escape.
  10. One for writers: Thou shalt smile when people have no comprehension of what you are trying to achieve.
The 10 chosen to comprise the actual list can be found at Vintage Books here. I absolutely adore number 5: 'Thou shalt never judge a book by its cover, but always judge a potential suitor by their bookshelves' by @bethanee_c.

 
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