Monday, May 11, 2009
Rules Rules Rules
In writing, we are inundated with rules to follow and often times we get confused with what we’re supposed to do and what is right and acceptable to the editor/reader.
I have many links on the side of this blog on the “how-to’s” to writing but even as I scan through them, I get a little confused with what is right and wrong. One author says to use parentheses to set off a word or phrase, another says parentheses are ‘out’ and that we shouldn’t use them.
What is right? What is wrong?
My first rule of thumb is write it all out and get your story on paper (or on your computer.) Turn the inner editor off and write your heart out, keeping the flow moving along until you feel satisfied with your story.
Then you go back and revise and cut out those excess words that add nothing to the story; they just add redundancy.
Read what is said about proper punctuation, tenses, and structure. Look at your work and see if you’ve followed any of the rules. Hopefully you will have the basic knowledge, enough to get your story in order.
Post your story in a critique group and see what jumps out at them. Some may say, “This doesn’t work.” Don’t let that discourage you! You need to get your confidence built up, so plow ahead. Forge onward and upwards in your writing skills allowing all of the comments received to go in one ear and sink into that brain of yours.
If you get all negative comments, then you’re in the wrong critique group. A good critique group will point out the positives AND the negatives, but never be solely negative. Drink all the comments in like a good cup of coffee and go to work on revising your piece until you are satisfied that it is your very best.
When you show your story/article to the critique room, they will see that all of their advice was adhered to and you’ll get more positive feedback. Don’t bore a critique room with sloppy and unfinished work. A critique room is there for you, to help guide you in the right direction but they can’t do all of the work for you, nor should they be expected to; it is your work.
Now study to your hearts content and get the basics down. Read current author’s and see what they are doing. Notice all of the little subtlety’s, whether it is a comma, brackets or parentheses. See what is the accepted form now not what was used way back when. Things change and with time, elements of writing change. It is wise to know the here and now instead of redoing what was done in the past.
The number one rule in writing? WRITE! Worry about rules later. :-)
Carpe Diem! Seize the Day!