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Robert's Rules of Writing

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  399 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
You already have a million writing books. You know the principles, the lectures, the "expert" techniques. And you've discovered that sometimes tried-and-true just equals tired.

In Robert's Rules of Writing, successful author Robert Masello stomps out status quo writing advice and delivers 101 uninhibited techniques to improve your writing that include: Burn your journal. (

Paperback, 224 pages
Published February 22nd 2005 by F+W Media, Inc. (first published January 1st 2005)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,156)
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Victor Tackett
This book got off to an extremely rocky start. The title is an automatic warning that this book is a specific writer's "rules for writing," however, he treats them, at least in the early chapters, as though they are the holy scripture of writing, and anyone who fails to follow them are douches.

I don't take kindly to that. Never have and never will. Perhaps I'm just a bit prickly. Either way, I stuck through the first chapters, taking everything with a huge dose of salt, and discovered that there
Maria McKenzie
Mar 12, 2010 Maria McKenzie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'd highly recommend Roberts' Rules of Writing to anyone who's serious about writing. Robert Masello provides helpful rules to improve anything from fiction, non-fiction, screenplays, magazine/newspaper stories and more. It's worth reading and worth keeping!
Harry Roger Williams III
I gave this one five stars, "It was amazing," because it would have been so easy for this to be a disappointment. Instead, I looked forward to each new "lesson," each of which is its own "chapter." Masello is often tongue-in-cheek in how he conveys his lessons, but deadly serious in giving budding (and experienced) writers a wealth of options for making their work better. I found silly humor in the little slips of paper on the cover, with lesson numbers and bits of the lessons looking like a pag ...more
Cheryl Crotty
I always find something in every book I read. So it was with this one. Some really good tips for all writers. Mostly though, I thought it was geared for those who are really trying to write a novel so most didn't apply for what I want to write. Moving on.
Mark Hiser
Jun 17, 2011 Mark Hiser rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing
For over thirty years I have taught literature and composition with experience in high school, community college and the four year university. I have taught in the US and in Japan, and have taught in schools and hospitals. The more I teach, the more I realize how much there is yet to learn.

This little book of "rules" is light reading, yet within the 101 "rules" the author presents, are some helpful ideas for the writing teacher. This is the kind of book to read when time is short and when patien
Jan 04, 2015 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Firstly, I was expecting more of a Harbrace-type set of rules. Instead, these "rules" are, more or less, guidelines about how to get your words onto the page, or how to break out of writer's block. They read like Ruistic quotes, or ideas, instead of rules to actually help your phraseology or grammar.

Secondly, Mr Masello contradicts himself in a few places, for instance:

Rule 3: Throw Out Your Thesaurus. Then later we read, in Rule 23: Bring Out da Noise, "Nobody writes without her critical appar
Apr 12, 2015 Iris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is not just for professional writers, it's for everybody who wants to write. I love it. It helped me understand writing and whatnots. Great read. The book has humour!
Katherine Clark
Mar 27, 2015 Katherine Clark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm teaching a writing workshop on Sunday, and while I have a lot of great writing books, I thought I would check out a bunch more from the library. This is one of the books I stumbled across. Each "rule" is about 2-3 short pages long. Nearly everything this guy told me was a rule I either knew or agreed with and realized I had experienced exactly what he said. Oddly enough, I found this book despite not really discovering anything new, to be invigorating and rewarding. I felt as though I were r ...more
Jonnah D.
Okay, there were some helpful tips in there. But give up Starbucks? Not in your lifetime or mine.
Joni Allison
Jun 11, 2012 Joni Allison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Robert's Rules of Writing by Robert Masello lists and illuminates 101 (actually 102 because rules are meant to be broken) lessons writers, and readers for that matter, need to know. While the book is easy enough to be approachable for any writer/reader, it does contain numerous kernels of truth that I can see myself applying to my own writing, as well as sharing with my students. I love how his lessons could be applied to close and critical reading just as easily as they can be applied to writin ...more
May 26, 2009 Henry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent book for anybody interested in writing. I got it from a friend (she was probably tired of my grammar questions, but that's her fault...should have thought better before telling me she had a BA in English) It's fun to read, funny at times, but behind all that there is a lot of very useful information. The rules are sometimes basic, like "Say it Again Sam" which talks about how using "He said" is way better than writing "He grumbled/snarled/barked" and all those other things w ...more
Jun 21, 2016 Claudia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh I really like this book. While reading it the expression no-nonsense kept popping up in my head. What I liked about it was that it was straightforward and intense.
It addresses important issues for every writer. I intend to re-read it and internalise it's tips. I'm an academic writer but still..much of this works for me. Great book . Easy read. Very helpful. 4 stars!
Ira Garcia
Oct 16, 2011 Ira Garcia rated it it was amazing
Masello had clearly stated what the reader should expect and not to expect at the first pages of the book. He assumed that the reader already knew the basic rules, logic and habits in writing and just needed a breather to remove himself from the orthodox pre-writing and publishing rituals. As an amateurish writer, I really found the book really useful and found some witty advice. Sure, it gave me a few chuckles while people at the train looked at me, distracted from whatsoever. It was written in ...more
Mick Child
Jun 04, 2013 Mick Child rated it really liked it
Loved it. Every writer, or prospective writer, should take a glance at it. Mr. Masello puts a lot of emphasis on dispelling writing myths and taboos in favor of clear and precise advice that will allow you to move past most of the issues modern fiction writers face at some time or another. The book reads easily and is laid out in a very simple format: each rule is its own chapter. You don't have to follow it in any particular order. Just open it up at any given page and read that rule. They're a ...more
A.L. Sowards
Jul 15, 2012 A.L. Sowards rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing, read-in-2012
I liked this book. 102 rules/chapters, and they all read pretty quickly—yet get their point across. I’ve heard most of the rules before, but not all of them. And he did a few awesome things, like said it’s OK to use adverbs if the right verb just doesn’t exists. Another favorite: tell, don’t show (as opposed to show, don’t tell). That sounds crazy, but his point is this: don’t show the boring stuff, just show the good stuff. He talks about different formats: novels, screenplays, magazine article ...more
Amanda Thames
Dec 31, 2015 Amanda Thames rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
I loved this book! Robert Masello has such a conversational style of writing I felt like he was speaking directly to the reader. It's part humorous and mostly helpful advice from his experience.

Not every single rule is a golden nugget and many are tailored directly for writers of novels rather than a generalized audience of writers, but even as someone who hasn't written a novel my copy is still packed with highlights and tabs for later review and reminders. I would recommend this book to any w
Nov 28, 2014 Loraine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shook my prose writing into shape! X333
Rainboe Sims-Jones
Jan 03, 2012 Rainboe Sims-Jones rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
Masello lists over one hundred “rules” guiding writers to experiment with different forms and strategies. He offers solemn advice from why talking about your work is a bad idea, to quirky advice suggesting burning freedom found in burning journals. The rules are presented in a fun, haphazard style making the rules, easy to understand and fun to follow. Robert's Rules is an easy one stop shop to help improve writing without getting caught up in the endless lectures typical of other instructional ...more
Kristy G. Stewart
Jun 22, 2007 Kristy G. Stewart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Writers
Shelves: writing
It's nice to have a book where the author isn't trying to teach you how to write: he's trying to show you how he writes. Admittedly, he writes it in a "you need to do this" sort of style, but hey! It's funny and useful, and for any of you who have had me talk about using the word "said," you've already had a small sample of the book. His rules are short and sweet, and he gives you a lot of things to keep in mind while you're writing.
Feb 03, 2011 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wouldn't call it "unorthodox," nor would I call it "unconventional." Many of his rules were old advice written in his voice, explained in his way, just like any creative writing teacher would have done. Some moments dragged, others were entertaining. If you're serious about writing, this book probably won't get you published. But, it might be just the read you need to help see old suggestions in a new way.
Dec 02, 2012 T'leah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sense-of-humor
This book is a must read for anyone who fancies themselves a writer! Masello uses his wit to lay down "the law." With every insightful thought comes something that will bring a smirk, a smile, a chuckle, and sometimes even a rolled eye. Regardless of which, they all signify that he is drilling into your brain. It is not only helpful, but enjoyable to read. I would rate this six stars if I had the option!
Sep 10, 2011 Shanna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: struggling writers
This was a fantastic book about how to write without driving yourself bananas in the process. I really enjoyed the witty words Robert used to lure the reader to keep reading, and the advice was solid. I would recommend it to anybody who needs a push in the right direction or anybody who just got a little lsot along the way and needs to get back on track.

Give it a try, you won't be sorry!
Apr 08, 2014 Cristina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
This book presents practical, real-life writing tips in an entertaining and informative way. It is geared toward the professional writer, but I found it enjoyable and helpful as an amateur. I recommend it to college students who are studying English or Creative Writing or otherwise want to write, whether academic papers, fiction, or otherwise.
Nov 12, 2014 Kathrese rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, writing
I read this off and on over a few months. For me, it was more about keeping my head in the game than learning anything new. For that, it was very useful. The chapters are short like blog posts. Take what you can and leave the rest. As one reader discussed, Chapter 102 makes it clear that for every writer, there's a different set of rules.
Denise Tarasuk
Jan 11, 2015 Denise Tarasuk rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: how-to-write
Absolutely fantastic! I savored each rule! So perfect. Interesting...loved Robert’s Rules of Writing! Great for any writer...and maybe just a reader! I took my time reading and thought about each rule. It gave me lots to churn over and gave me brilliant thoughts for writing. Truly, a wonderful hand book that I cannot go without!
Jun 25, 2012 Sharon added it
This is a collection of 102 pieces of practical advice for writers. The "rules" are each a page or two long. This makes the book too disjointed to read for any stretch of time. Basically, it's a bathroom book for writers. Keep it somewhere you might pick it up and read for a few minutes, no more.
May 18, 2016 Anna rated it liked it
Shelves: reference, writing
A helpful, easy to read guide for people who want to write or who call themselves writers. I couldn't recommend this book for serious writers - it's a bit too glib and basic. Rather I would suggest Gardner's "On Becoming a Novelist" or Goldberg's "Writing Down the Bones."
Apr 02, 2013 Loretta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book for $4.00 at Bargain Book Warehouse. While I may not agree with some of the "rules," I did find a lot of the information useful for different areas of writing. It now resides on my reference shelf, next to my beloved Gregg Reference Manual.
Darla Grieco
Aug 19, 2013 Darla Grieco rated it really liked it
Great advice for writers, especially new writer's like myself. Everyone who saw me with this book would assume I was reading yet another dull book on grammar. Not so. Robert Masello shares many tips and insights to aid a writer's success.
Bob Wasserman
Oct 07, 2011 Bob Wasserman rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
This wasn't really what I thought it was going to be. Interesting on how to write (books, articles) but just couldn't get into it. And since it's not a school bye. (Glad it was part of my <$5 Kindle purchases
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Robert Masello is an award-winning journalist, TV writer, and the bestselling author of many novels and nonfiction books. His most recent thriller, entitled THE EINSTEIN PROPHECY (47 North), hit the # 1 spot in the Amazon Kindle store. Previous books include BLOOD AND ICE, THE MEDUSA AMULET, and THE ROMANOV CROSS, all published by Bantam/Random House.
He is also the author of two popular studies
More about Robert Masello...

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