A Rather Writer-ly Post

Let’s talk about ‘Vernor’s Law’.

‘Vernor’ is Vernor Vinge, and his law goes something like this: (I printed it and stuck it on the wall above my desk)

“All scenes need to accomplish at least 2 of 3 things. 1 – Provide background information. 2 – Develop the characters. 3 – Advance the plot”

This works, I think, for any form of art that has ‘scenes’ in it; writing, graphic novels, (because they’re an art form all of themselves) movies, stage plays, and perhaps even music. (If there are any composers passing by I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter)

Of all the odds and sods of tips for writers I’ve come across in my time, this seems to encompass them all … which makes it rather awesome indeed!


Finally, a few of my on-line women friends seem to be going through a bit of a meatgrinder lately. So this is for all of us.

I’m not a great fan of ‘should’. More often than not it’s laden with all sorts of expectations, blaming, and guilt, etc, but in this instance another definition was called for. More like a Woman’s Bill of Rights and Responsibilities.



A woman should have one old love she can imagine going back to, and one to remind her how far she’s come…

A woman should have enough money within her control to move out and rent a place of her own even if she never needs or wants to…

A woman should have something perfect to wear if the employer or date of her dreams wants to see her in an hour…

A woman should have a youth she’s content to leave behind, a past juicy enough that she’s looking forward to retelling it in her old age…

A woman should have a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra. One friend who always makes her laugh, and one who lets her cry…

A woman should have a good piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in her family… eight matching plates, wineglasses with stems, and a recipe for a meal that will make her guests feel honoured..

A woman should have a feeling of control over her destiny…

A woman should know how to fall in love without losing herself…

A woman should know how to quit a job, break up with a lover, and confront a friend without ruining the relationship… when to try harder, and when to walk away…

A woman should know that she can’t change the length of her calves, the width of her hips, or the nature of her parents… that her childhood may not have been perfect, but its over…

A woman should know what she would and wouldn’t do for love or more…

A woman should know how to live alone, even if she doesn’t like it…

A woman should know whom she can trust and whom she can’t, and why she shouldn’t take it personally … where to go, be it to her best friends kitchen table or a charming inn in the woods, when her soul needs soothing..

A woman should know what she can and can’t accomplish in a day, a month, and a year…

Please feel free to add to this list and share it around.


“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face”Eleanor Roosevelt


7 comments on “A Rather Writer-ly Post

  1. clarbojahn says:

    Got lost in the Magical worlds link. Very interesting although I have an e pub that is printing my children’s book. The fact that emails are so slow is reassuring as I wait for weeks to hear back. Still don’t have their signature on the contract just mine. They haven’t sent their copy back to me yet.
    As for what a woman should do and have… I think you covered it. I know I don’t have enough control over the money. I forfeited it. I’ll try to get it back from husb.


  2. Thanks for the Manifesto. I think my mom sent me this list once, in one of the many chain letters she likes to circulate to assorted friends and rellies. I love the quote from Eleanor Roosevelt too.

    And as for Vernor’s Law… yes, as long as it’s done in an interesting and engaging, skilful way. I think we’ve all read books and stories by authors who took this Law to heart and whose writing seems to be a mechanical step-through. Sometimes it’s not what you do, but how you do it that makes all the difference.


  3. londonmabel says:

    Nice list. Though I don’t think you can ever know the last one (if looked at philosophically) til your dead, cause you find out those things by doing the Eleanor quote! 😉


  4. jannatwrites says:

    I like the Bill of Rights list. It all seems reasonable to me.

    I had never thought about it, but Vernor’s Law makes sense. Now, out of curiosity, I’ll have to look at what I’m writing (and reading) to see if it applies 🙂


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