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    Richard Ford - 10 Rules for Writing Fiction

    by Philip Evarist Rivard - 0 Comment(s)

    Richard Ford

    Richard Ford is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist and short story writer. His best-known works are the novel The Sportswriter and its sequels, Independence Day and The Lay of the Land, and the short story collection Rock Springs, which contains several widely anthologized stories.

    Ford received a B.A. from Michigan State University. Having enrolled to study hotel management, he switched to English. After graduating he taught junior high school in Flint, Michigan, and enlisted in the US Marines but was discharged after contracting hepatitis. At university he met Kristina Hensley, his future wife; the two married in 1968.

    Despite mild dyslexia, Ford developed a serious interest in literature. He has stated in interviews that his dyslexia may, in fact, have helped him as a reader, as it forced him to approach books at a slow and thoughtful level.

    Ford briefly attended law school but dropped out and entered the creative writing program at the University of California, Irvine, to pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree, which he received in 1970. Ford chose this course simply because, he confesses, “they admitted me. I remember getting the application for Iowa, and thinking they’d never have let me in. I’m sure I was right about that, too. But, typical of me, I didn’t know who was teaching at Irvine. I didn’t know it was important to know such things. I wasn’t the most curious of young men, even though I give myself credit for not letting that deter me.” As it turned out, Oakley Hall and E. L. Doctorow were teaching there, and Ford has been explicit about his debt to them.

    Ford lived for many years on lower Bourbon Street in the French Quarter and then in the Garden District of New Orleans, Louisiana, where his wife Kristina was the executive director of the city planning commission. He now lives in East Boothbay, Maine. Since 2008 Ford has been Adjunct Professor at the Oscar Wilde Centre with the School of English at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, and teaches on the Masters programme in creative writing.

    But you don't have to go to Dublin to learn his 10 Rules for Writing Fiction because he gave them to The Guardian this March.

    1 Marry somebody you love and who thinks you being a writer's a good idea.

    2 Don't have children.

    3 Don't read your reviews.

    4 Don't write reviews. (Your judgment's always tainted.)

    5 Don't have arguments with your wife in the morning, or late at night.

    6 Don't drink and write at the same time.

    7 Don't write letters to the editor. (No one cares.)

    8 Don't wish ill on your colleagues.

    9 Try to think of others' good luck as encouragement to yourself.

    10 Don't take any shit if you can ­possibly help it.

    The Library has a full selection of Richard Ford's work in a variety of formats (book, book CD, e-audiobook and talking book for the special needs community) Here is a small sample of what we offer -

    The Lay of the Land The Granta Book of the American Short Story, vol. 2 A Multitude of Sins

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