Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Writing rules

Whatever blog or textbook or website you look at about writing will always itemize a lot of rules. Sometimes this is done with great seriousness, and at other times somewhat tongue-in-cheek. But the one thing everyone agrees on is that rules must be obeyed.

When it comes to grammar and spelling, this is basically true. Publishers and agents don’t like misspelled books. Readers find them hard to read and even the ones that enjoy the story hidden under the grammatical errors seldom come back to buy a second book by that author.

The same with formatting. If the formatting distracts the reader too much from the story, the book is basically doomed.

Then there are rules that are just plain weird.
Gooseflesh is one word but goose bumps is two words. Backyard is one word whereas front yard is two words

As far as the rest of the rules go, authors can be much more self directed. You might write very slowly or much faster than other people you know. You might start at the beginning and work your way logically to the end, or write scenes from all over the book as they occur to you. You might plot out and diagram every inch of the book or not have the slightest idea what will happen next until the words appear on the screen. You might sneak out of bed at four in the morning to write in silence, or tap obliviously at the keys as your family entertains the entire soccer team in your office.

Whatever works for you is good. Go with the flow. If it’s working don’t mess with the system just because it doesn’t fit into someone else’s mold. In that sense you are the creator and there are no rules for writing. BICFOK* is all it takes.

*Butt In Chair Fingers On Keyboard

Helen Woodall

Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.

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