We've all heard about the RULES we need to follow in order to be “good” writers. No adverbs, no passive voice, no split infinitives, show don't tell, limit dialogue tags to “said” & “asked”, use only one POV per chapter―these are just a few of the absolutes we're faced with every day. I've heard some … Continue reading 7 Great Authors Take on the “RULES OF WRITING”
While doing research recently for an ESL student, I came across another “rule of writing”, to wit: Don't use gerunds; they make your writing weak. To qualify as a gerund a word must be: a verb with an “ing” suffix that performs the job of a noun. Take these sentences as examples: I like hiking. … Continue reading The Rules of Writing: No Gerunds?
So, it seems that I managed to take another 8-week sabbatical this holiday season. However, unlike last year, this one was not full of family, friends, and celebrations (although we spent a lovely day at my brother's house on Christmas). At home, we had only one tree instead of our usual five, and only two … Continue reading Getting back in the swing of things
In the past few weeks, I've seen too many articles that propound “THE RULES of Writing”. An overabundance, if you will, most of which don't make any distinction between THE RULES and STYLE CHOICES. THE RULES are universal. For instance: a sentence must have a subject and a verb; the subject and verb must agree; … Continue reading THE RULES vs. Style Choices
It occurred to me the other day that the people who propound THE RULES OF WRITING are much more vocal than those of us who do not. Since I was listening to a John McCormack CD at the time (it's almost Paddy's Day, you know, and I'm learning two new songs), I wondered how those … Continue reading At the Intersection of Music and Writing
If you've been following me for any length of time, you'll know that I believe most “rules of writing” need a good hard reality check. Many times, when asked for rules, a writer will recommend their writing practices, and that's not at all the same thing as universal rules. I recently read an article by … Continue reading And more Rules Of Writing
The Rules of Writing. So many of them are subject to discussion, if not passionate argument. The Oxford comma, the em-dash, the sentence fragment: you're on one side or the other. Hardly anyone stands on the fence. Two of the most popular and oft-quoted Rules are: 1.) Use a stronger verb instead of a verb … Continue reading The Rules of Writing: A Built-In Paradox
Excellent advice on the rules of writing!
It’s important to have conflict on every page. And don’t forget to always drive the plot forward. Make sure you’re always developing your characters. Use tight sentences that convey a lot of information. Write natural-sounding dialogue. Build tension throughout the book and always increase the stakes. Avoid the passive voice like the plague. Be true to your characters’ personalities. Give every person in the book a desire. Reveal enough to interest the reader, but not so much that it ruins the intrigue. Build sufficient credibility to suspend disbelief. Make the reader empathize with the protagonist.
Okay, now close your eyes.
Do you remember every piece of advice you just read?
If you said yes: (1) I hate you, (2) go be a scientist or something. If you’re like the rest of us, you probably can’t keep all of those things at the forefront of your mind at all times. If…
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Let me first say that I believe in rules. I’m one of those people who loves to diagram sentences (yeah, I know). When too many of the rules get broken, the diagram looks just like chicken-scratch. On the other hand, sometimes it seems that rules are created just so we can have rules. These days, … Continue reading AN ESSAY ON WRITING: The “Rules”