11 Rules of Writing

I recently came across a web site that details the 11 Rules of Writing.  Some of this stuff is common knowledge, but I find it is helpful to look at this now and again.  I know I often fall victim to #10: Use the active voice unless you specifically need to use the passive.  The nice thing about this site is that it gives examples of the wrong way to do things and also examples of the correct way to do things.  Of course as they say, rules are meant to be broken.

5 thoughts on “11 Rules of Writing

  1. I had the honor of meeting Kurt Vonnegut this past summer and he said that the semi- colon was dead. He also said that Joe Heller’s Catch 22 was the greatest novel ever written. So, by these to statements you may conclude that Vonnegut is, a) Genius, b) old and out of touch, or c) half right. I choose C.

    Personally, I think if you’re a a good story teller you won’t have to worry about most rules, as the story will pretty much write itself. I think a lot of the rules get in the way of the creative process. Mark Z. Danielewski and Chuck Palahniuk are examples of people who break norms in writing in order to tell a good story. I have conversed with Chuck Palahniuk and one of the best things he said was, “rules are the constipation of creativity”.

    I think most rules come from writing hacks who publish “how to write a novel” guides. There is a reason those people have never published a great, and that is because they think they know what goes into one. If that were the case, House of Leaves and Fight Club would have never hit the shelves. Among many many others.

  2. Blainechowder,
    Thanks for the comments. I definitely hear what you’re saying. I surely don’t believe that one should worry about these rules all the time. However, I think they are a nice starting point. Especially for someone like me, who can’t pretend to be as talented as the authors you mention.

    That is very cool you got to meet Kurt Vonnegut.

    I hope you found something useful here.

  3. Great link, thanks! I agree that the rules should help guide your writing, but also agree that at times we do have to write outside of the lines.
    A good story will stand on it’s own, whether it follows rules or not…

  4. My friend gave me a book called Robert’s Rules of Writing.

    His first rule was to burn the journal. I had to laugh. There’s no f’ing way I’m buring nearly 50 journals and a good 25+ years of writing.

    That’s just wrong.

  5. That is hilarious! I bet if you looked up that author, he never wrote anything worth reading. And that’s the way it always is. Honestly, I wonder if people write those books so that they can get tenure at a university somewhere?
    Never throw anything away. You will never know when you’ll get re-inspired by something you have written.

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