Thursday, June 01, 2006

Rules & Writing

Once in a while I hear something about what a writer should or should not be doing and it makes me want to tear out my hair.

Yes, you should write in understandable, preferably grammatically correct English (or whatever language you write in). But hey, sometimes you have to sacrifice grammar, especially in dialogue, so even that's debatable.

But you know what, we're not mathematicians. A + B does not always equal C. Sometimes it equals X and sometimes A & B aren't even together, or if they are, they're also with D & Y.

Writing a story isn't about following a formula no matter what people might say. If it was, everyone who ever wanted to write a story would sit down, plug in the correct bits and pieces and wallah, they'd have a story. Heck there are even story generators out there on the Internet. While they're fun to play with, how many books do you think have been written this way?

In the end, writers - working writers, aspiriting writers, even hobby writers - are all artists. I don't mean we have to put on a beret and start living artistic lifes, though you can if that's what rocks your boat. It's not about props. It's about what we do. Writing is a creative endeavour and creativity needs freedom to blossom.

In art, rules are flexible things, open to interpretation. So interpret them your way, with your voice. Tell your story.

7 comments :

Cynthia E. Bagley said...

Thanks for the post... (kick in the pants) I agree. :-)

Heather Waters said...

I admit to owning and playing with Dramatic Pro, but truth tell, I feel really stupid with it. Most of what they ask leaving me scratching my head like a neanderthal. (I did like WriteWay, however. It's not a story generator, but it's great for organizing your research and character info!)

I'm in a critique group with 5 other women. Some shove rules down my throat constantly. I happen to be one who doesn't believe in rules, so long as you use your common sense. Especially plot rules. The stand out books never follow them, if you'll notice. (And since my debut novel features a mute hero, I think you'll agree that I, um, sort of discarded a couple of rules there myself lol)

Nalini Singh said...

No worries, Cynthia! ;)

A mute hero? Heather, I must read this book!

Cynthia E. Bagley said...

yea Heather... it sounds very intriguing. :-)

Heather Waters said...

LOL Thanks but it sounded intriguing to me too when I started it. Then, I realized it's much more difficult to carry on a conversation between the h/h without the mute hero pounding his chest and scratching his head :)

Melly said...

I've been having the same argument with someone about rules and breaking them. He claims it's very snobbish, artistic-high-brow kind of thing to ignore rules. I claim that good writers don't ignore them, but know exactly what they are and how to break them.
I'm glad to see more people agree :)

Nalini Singh said...

Lol, Heather!!

Melly - oooh, your comment just gave me an idea for another blog post. Thanks!