I thoroughly dislike rules or people telling me how things have to be done this way and not that, because we all know there's only one way to do anything, right? When I first began writing at a very young age when anything I wrote was not worth reading except for by loving parents who had to like it because you were their kid, I didn't follow a single rule. Probably had more to do with not knowing the rules, but not much changed about my writing up through high school. It got better, but I hated the rules and only followed the ones I had to in order to make the A's (or C's if we're talking math, but I digress, let's get back to something without numbers).
It wasn't until college that I began to have a true appreciation for the rules. I still don't like them all, but I began to appreciate the madness behind them. To clarify, I'm not talking about grammar and spelling (leave those minute details to the editors). The rules I speak of come from writers, editors, agents, and publishers. In fact I've come across so many rules of writing over the years, that I have to wonder which ones are worth listening to and why are there so many? From George Orwell to Mark Twain or the guardianuk's compilation list (just to name a few, very few out there). So a new author might realize that if they listened to every single rule of writing by every single source out there, they would have nothing to write! No matter how amazing these writers may be or were, at some point, we have to create our own rules.
So here are 'MK's Rules of Writing': What Works for Me May Not Work for You
- Stop reading other people's 'Rules of Writing'.
- Avoid cliches, unless it's such a good cliche that you can't find any way around not using it.
- Describe whatever you want. Too much description, not enough description - I've read it all, so I'll do what works for me and my story.
- The dictionary - it's there for a purpose, no matter how smart you think you are.
- Read ten books (or at least five) for every book you write, (okay, so this one is more because I really enjoy reading), but I stand by it.
- No matter what anyone tells you, if it doesn't work for you and you can't bring yourself to do it, then don't.
- Not everyone likes vampires and zombies, so it's okay if you only write about cowboys and dukes with accents.
- Just because the Kama Sutra says it's possible, doesn't mean people want to read it.
- Try to remember that no one really cares how you write, just as long as they like reading your book.
- When all else fails, remember the golden rule of writing - enjoy it, otherwise why bother?
- Don't ever publish a book without the help of a top-notch editor. Seriously, don't do it.