Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Still Further Conversation about the “Rules of Writing” . . .


Rules of Writing

This Blog Conversation began on October 15th and continued on Oct. 17th19th22nd24th, 26th, and 29th

The reader comments in all those past posts are the reason for this discussion’s wide variety of views about the “rules” of writing…

And, here is yet another comment from our author-publisher friend from Germany:

“We need rules that can help us read our sentences with the eyes of outsiders who haven’t been listening to the ideas in our heads but have to rely on our words on the page. Such rules wouldn’t be writing rules, more writing signposts.

“Having read ‘No rule should be followed over a cliff‘ so often, I remember a holiday trip to Denmark. In Germany, people are used to railings and barriers that keep us away from cliffs, often with several yards between the railing and the cliff. It is impossible to look over the cliff and see what lies behind or below. In Denmark, we followed a path along a cliff. There were no railings, just an old sign half hidden between trees that reminded us of the danger. And we could see the danger, and the long way down to yet more cliffs and water.

“A useful rule would always remind us of the long way down but let us ramble along the edge.”

This is a remarkable comment…

First, because of the “rules” our commenter imagines that would help us see with the eyes (mind) of the reader…

One way to attempt to follow this guidance is to be a writer who regularly reads—remembering that humans are more the same than they are different—habitual reading can create an internal awareness of the “reader’s mind”—how they “see” our writing…

Naturally, this may not let a writer read their own words like every single other reader might—there are folks who are not in touch with their deeper and common humanity…

Plus, there are, certainly, some, even if small, variations in the way any writing might be interpreted—this being a natural “feature” of using words…

And, a further reason our German friend’s comment is remarkable to me is the opportunity to form metaphoric interpretations of the two paths—with rigidly enforced boundaries or casual borders—essentially a choice between having rules to keep us from misusing other rules or having a sense of forethought that lets us pursue the path of writing with personal principles…

It would be wonderful if someone else would craft a metaphoric interpretation of our commenter’s two cliff paths :-)

And, I must repeat this commenter’s summation:

“A useful rule would always remind us of the long way down but let us ramble along the edge.”

And, speaking of “edges” that writers can explore, a brief comment from a poet on Wattpad — which I’m ever so slightly editing for context… :

Broadening the limitlessness of writing, because rules may be a personal entrapment—unnecessary as well.

And, I can imagine hearing a reader saying: “But, don’t we need some rules so our readers can at least understand what we write?”

That could open up many avenues of discussion:

Who are we writing for…?

Why are we writing…?

Do we write to “conform” to others’ ideas…?

Do we write to help others “relax” their conformity…?

And, more generally:

Do you have other opinions about “rules for writing”…?

Or, you may have ideas for where to find “rules for writing”…?

Or, you may not understand why there should ever be any “rules for writing”…?

And, you might be the first reader to comment and allow this discussion to continue :-)
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4 responses to “Still Further Conversation about the “Rules of Writing” . . .

  1. juliecroundblog November 1, 2018 at 6:47 am

    I have come to this conversation late and it has obviously developed from “We need full stops and Capital letters.” However, there is one ‘rule’ that new writers may not be aware of and that is the rule of ‘point of view.” It is so much easier for the reader if at least each chapter is seen from the point of view of a single character. This is a rule that I kept to for five books and then broke, deliberately, in the sixth as I wanted the reader to know what two characters were thinking at the same time.
    I did once find it very annoying when there were a number of folk in a book I was reading and they all bombarded me with thoughts at the same time. I suppose it can work…..
    Sorry if I’ve been too simple in my interpretation.

    Like

  2. Pingback: Yet Further Conversation about the “Rules of Writing” . . . | Notes from An Alien

  3. Pingback: Yes, We’re Still Having a Conversation about the “Rules of Writing” . . . | Notes from An Alien

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