This post is for Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers Support Group (click the link for details on what that means and how to join. You will also find a list of bloggers signed up to the challenge that are worth checking out. The first Wednesday of every month, we all optionally answer the monthly question or post our thoughts, fears or words of encouragement for fellow writers.
JANUARY 4TH QUESTION: What writing rule do you wish you’d never heard?
“Show don’t tell” comes to mind, not because it’s a bad rule, more because it’s quoted ad nauseum. How about ‘Huck Finn meets Les Miserables‘ (you fill in both sides of the equation). Or ‘deep dive‘ to describe a thorough description.
How about ‘as unlikely as a bus hitting you in the shower while being attacked by a shark‘. This is used to describe the chances of finding an agent. Not quite a rule, but might as well be.
Then there’s Mark Twain’s rule about ‘very’:
“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.”
This brings to mind a related idea: “If you add a b***sh** filter, it’s amazing how quickly things come into focus.” This to explain much of the writing advice you get from non-writers.
How about “It’s complicated” to explain why you didn’t follow rules. Well, I actually like that one. Much like that great aphorism from Yogi Berra: “If you come to a fork in the road, pick it up.”
I think that’s it. I’ll be over to see what annoys you.
More IWSG articles:
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, and the thriller, To Hunt a Sub. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning. The sequel to To Hunt a Sub, Twenty-four Days, is scheduled for Summer, 2017. Click to follow its progress.