Wednesday, December 9, 2009

One caveat to rule them all...

I create a lot of lists. Some of them are personal guidelines I follow while I'm writing. They're not rules because I firmly believe that there aren't very many hard and fast rules to writing. In fact, there's only inviolate rule I can think of... Elements are in service to the story, the story is never in service to its elements. I've stated it here before, but it's been awhile and it bears repeating. All of the suggestions I bring to the table can be summed up by that one. Cormac McCarthy taught us that even punctuation is optional under the right circumstances and Anthony Burgess and Irvine Welsh taught us that language is infinitely malleable if the story is served. Under the correct circumstances, you can and should throw it all to the wind and tell your story. And in the spirit of brevity, I find to my surprise that that's all I have to say today.

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Pages to Type is a blog about books, writing and literary culture (with the occasional digression into coffee and the care and feeding of giant robots).