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Monday, August 20, 2012

Gnashing Your Teeth Over Writing Rules?


So much is said in writing circles about the rules or guidelines of writing, I figured this could be said again. 

New writers hate the confines and see seasoned authors break the rules all the time. I have a theory about that (you knew I would, didn't you?) ...

When you're a beginning writer, the rules or guidelines of good writing help you learn. It's much like when you first started school, you learned to print.

 There were rules for how you made your letters.

Once you have mastered printing, you learned cursive and a new set of rules. All your letters had to slant a certain way and fit within the confines of the lines.

 When you mastered those skills, you then added your own flourishes to make a unique signature—your art in writing.

 The same goes for the rules or guidelines for good writing.

Once you've mastered the basics of strong verbs, show vs. tell, etc., you find your voice and add those flourishes. You learn when to break the rules and how to do it with panache. Only then does the prose truly sing.

Pressing on to be a virtuoso (or would that be a virtuosa for a female?) ... 

I wrote a poem to these rules, published in the ACFW e-zine, Afitionado. You can read it here.

1 comment:

  1. Love the poem, Ane. I'm printing it to keep in my Stylebook. Now, if I can just remember to follow it.


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