“Secret Writing Rules” and Why to Ignore Them…

by Anne R. Allen

Somerset Maugham famously said, “There are three rules for writing. Unfortunately, nobody knows what they are.”

But pretty much everybody you meet in the publishing business will give you a list of them. (One is “never start a sentence with ‘there are’” —so watch yourself, Mr. Maugham.)

Some of the rules show up in any standard writing book or class, but others only seem to get circulated in critique groups, conference workshops, and forums.

They’re a secret to everybody else.

Continue reading HERE

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24 comments

  1. Kudos for writing this. There, I’ve used a phrase instead of a complete sentence! One of my beta readers is a real stickler for the rules and told me I couldn’t change POV in the middle of a chapter, for a short paragraph, and then go back to the main character’s POV. I did it anyway, and right now I’m reading a book by Angela Thirkell, written Lo These Many Years Ago, where she does the same thing, quite effectively. I’ve also noticed that A Man Called Ove and Beartown break a lot of the “rules.” It’s time to shake off the MFA crowd and self-appointed experts and write living literature again. Something I’m still working on! (Uh oh, I’ve used an exclamation point, a real no-no; uh oh, I’ve used slang, another no-no….) Etc.

    Liked by 1 person

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