Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Rules of Writing Part 1: Code or Guidelines?

I have been thinking a lot about The Rules of Writing. There are a lot of rules, advice, guidelines, shoulds, should nots and so forth out there about writing fiction. Some I agree with. Some I think to myself "Really???...?" Still others I am on the fence about.

So - I thought to myself - Self, what are the real rules of writing. And myself replied with this:

The Rules of Writing

1. Thou Shalt Use Correct Spelling*
2. Thou Shalt Use Correct Grammar**

* - Exception: You may spell things improperly in dialog, but only if completely necessary.
* - Exceptions: You may use improper grammar in dialog, because let's face it - we don't all talk with the right grammar. Also, in the narrative this rule can be broken but only if completely necessary.

That's it. Those are the only two real rules of writing. And notice that even they have exceptions.

So what about all the other "rules" out there? Well, I think that they can be broken down into three different categories:

1. Best Practices
2. Personal Preference
3. Good Writing vs Great Writing.

I am going to do a series on my thoughts on each of these categories and which rules I feel belong in each one.

Would you add any rules to my list?


  1. To quote Captain Barbosa, "the code is more what you'd call 'guidelines' than actual rules." ;)

  2. I love POTC!! And thank you forthe post!