What Fiction Writers Can Teach Us about Writing Creative Briefs

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Recently, Guardian invited prominent authors to list out their 10 rules for writing fiction. It became a popular feature, collating the wisdom of several authors and even overflowed into a part two.

Reading it, I wondered if a few of these rules can be picked out and applied to something closer home – like writing a creative brief. It does seem like a stretch as the two activities are possibly diametrically opposite, if nowhere else but in our own minds.

Still, armed with my own thoughts on writing creative briefs, I set out to trawl the entire list and came up with this – 10 rules for writing creative briefs from fiction writers.

I have copied each rule and tweaked it – minimally – to suit our need. My own edits in the rule are italicised. The author’s name and the corresponding rule number (from their list) are mentioned in brackets for reference.

  1. Keep your exclamation points ­under control. (Elmore Leonard, 5)
  2. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip. (Elmore Leonard, 10)
  3. Do change your mind. Good ideas are often murdered by better ones. (Roddy Doyle, 8)
  4. Learn poems by heart. (Helen Dunmore, 5)
  5. Have regrets. They are fuel. (Geoff Dyer, 6)
  6. Beware of clichés. Not just the ­clichés that Martin Amis is at war with. There are clichés of response as well as expression. There are clichés of observation and of thought – even of conception. Most creative briefs, even quite a few adequately written ones, are ­clichés of form which conform to clichés of expectation. (Geoff Dyer, 8)
  7. When information becomes free and universally accessible, voluminous research for a creative brief is devalued along with it. (Jonathan Franzen, 5)
  8. Style is the art of getting yourself out of the way, not putting yourself in it. (David Hare, 3)
  9. Ignore all proferred rules and create your own, suitable for what you want to say. (Michael Moorcock, 10)
  10. If it reads like a creative brief, rewrite it. (Elmore Leonard, summation)

Of course, these rules are my own version of what I think these fiction writers would say to us. I would love to hear what other rules you would pick out.

Original Post: http://www.misentropy.com/2010/03/what-fiction-writers-can-teach-us-about-writing-creative-briefs.html