Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs

Rules for writing are as plentiferous as books on writing. They have their merit, but one thing Wendy and I have learned as we've gained more experience is this:

Books and rules should be treated as suggestions, nothing more.

For years we filled our shelves with writing books, hoping and wishing that one of them would be that magic bullet that would Cinderella us so that we could fire out perfectly polished bestsellers. We've since thinned out the herd, as we know now that our ability to crank out a winner is determined by us.

Same for rules. That being said, the above list for editing is helpful in that it offers some places to check when making those final passes. Remember, though, that there are no hard and fast rules. For myself, I have one basic rule: If it works, use it. Begin a sentence with and (And I do, a lot.); use incomplete sentences; make up words; and don't be afraid of the occasional etc.; etc.

Of the rules from the list, I'll offer a couple of observations:

For tip # 1, yes, some long sentences should be cut, but it's also a good idea to vary sentence length--don't have all sentences the same length.

Tip # 21, don't avoid  -ing words entirely. Check out my post, http://writefromthegitgo.blogspot.com/2016/02/im-writing-now-but-i-wrote.html.

#22, yeah, I have to watch my comma usage--unless I, want, to, sound like, William Shatner.

Tip # 14 is one I agree with. Make those verbs stronger. Verbs punch, fly, run, vanish.

And finally, double check everything. Of all the rules, that's the most potent.

As always, please comment. I'd love to hear from my readers out there.

Keep writing, friends.

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