“The most durable thing in writing is style, and style is the most valuable investment a writer can make with his time. It pays off slowly, your agent will sneer at it, your publisher will misunderstand it, and it will take people you have never heard of to convince them by slow degrees that the writer who puts his individual mark on the way he writes will always pay off.” Raymond Chandler –
I love this post! It encourages me to do what I already naturally do as a serious writer — which is to make up my own rules as I go along, to go wild. Thank you Nicholas Rossis — love your blog!
I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while now. The main reason is that I keep coming across several writing rules that make little sense to me. Then, I came across a gem of a post by Constance Hale, “When Shakespeare Committed Word Crimes” on TED.
Constance confirmed what I long suspected: when there is tension in a language between what comes naturally and the rules, it’s because someone has tried to shoehorn the language into their idea of conformity.
Does this mean there are no rules? Not at all. It just means that the ones we are taught in workshops and classrooms are not necessarily the ones that matter to actual readers – as opposed to teachers, agents and editors. So, here are my golden rules; the ones no fiction writer should ever break, in my view:
Rule #1: Don’t let your writing get in the way of your story.
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