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Author Topic: Ann Leckie on "The Rules" of Writing  (Read 3364 times)

DKT

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Scattercat

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Reply #1 on: March 04, 2010, 10:23:18 PM
Fairly accurately sums up my feelings on the whole thing, I'd say.

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Sgarre1

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Reply #2 on: March 04, 2010, 11:31:35 PM
If anyone's interested, I believe the stories she's referring to are

Here (part one): http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/feb/20/ten-rules-for-writing-fiction-part-one

Here (part two): http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/feb/20/10-rules-for-writing-fiction-part-two

As for her comments - the body of it (which is essentially complaining about the third person/first person suggestion) is solid, but I found the intro pretty glib.  No!  Really?!? "You have to learn the rules before you can break them" doesn't make sense as a logical statement! There "really aren't any rules"?!  Some people on the internet take things too seriously?!?  shock horror....

I guess I was underwhelmed because I'd thought about commenting myself (except I don't blog as a rule) - specifically about how interesting the range of suggestions (no, they even say "rules" at the top) was and how you could break them down into writers who took the suggestion of the project  literally or figuratively, applied it to short fiction or novels, assumed it was intended for newbies or as life-learned lesson for career planning, the genre writers over the literary, the wistful over the practical  - there's a fascinating range of suggestions made that sometime say more about the particular writer and his assumption about you, the potential/student writer, than they do about the work.

I mean, look at Elmore Leonard's - he obviously approached it as "this is the voice I find most entertaining as a reader and here's how to attain it" - and if you're looking to write like Elmore Leonard, I'm sure that's helpful.  Still, his made me feel like I sometimes did reading (well, listening to) Stephen King's ON WRITING, when occasionally I felt he was only barely dodging accidentally writing ON WRITING LIKE STEPHEN KING.

Still, bully for her for hashing out that 1st person/3rd person thing.  Write in whatever voice you feel like (even the much maligned 2nd person that everyone seems to hate because you abdicate identity to the author).
« Last Edit: March 04, 2010, 11:36:28 PM by Sgarre1 »



DKT

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Reply #3 on: March 04, 2010, 11:39:38 PM
If anyone's interested, I believe the stories she's referring to are

Here (part one): http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/feb/20/ten-rules-for-writing-fiction-part-one

Here (part two): http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/feb/20/10-rules-for-writing-fiction-part-two

Interesting. Thanks.

I'm not sure, but I was under the impression this was more inspired by some kind of meme on LJ (one I seemed to have missed) that was going around about Writing Rules. I could be wrong, though :)


Sgarre1

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Reply #4 on: March 04, 2010, 11:50:40 PM
In the comments section it sounds like the meme was inspired by the Guardian pieces



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Reply #5 on: March 05, 2010, 12:34:43 AM
The articles got on my nerves because of the framing.  They were presented as "rules," even if it didn't say "rules" at the top of the page, and most of them were indeed of the "Don't ever do this unless you actually should." 

My personal favorite was Phillip Pullman's, even if I don't like his actual books much at all.

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Kevin David Anderson

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Reply #6 on: March 07, 2010, 09:41:34 PM
The rules are not laws, just suggestions.  Suggestion that will help present your work in the most acceptable light possible.  But obeying all the rules does not guarantee success.  In writing there is but one rule/law.  Write something good.  If it’s good, it can become great.  And if it becomes great, then the rest will fix itself. 


friendlybohemian

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Reply #7 on: May 03, 2010, 09:04:47 PM
I found the idea of rules to writing somewhat funny. I remember reading Stephen King's On Writing and loving what he said. There are no real rules, only ways to approach the situation. The only actual rules I follow are those written by Strunk and White in The Elements of Style.

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hautdesert

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Reply #8 on: May 06, 2010, 12:40:20 AM
The only actual rules I follow are those written by Strunk and White in The Elements of Style.

You've got Strunk and White themselves beat, then--even they didn't follow the rules in Elements.




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Reply #9 on: May 06, 2010, 01:43:51 AM
The only actual rules I follow are those written by Strunk and White in The Elements of Style.

You've got Strunk and White themselves beat, then--even they didn't follow the rules in Elements.

Style guides are always a pain and are best chucked whenever possible. I have to write to a British-ized version of AP style for work, which is just not fun and requires a near-savant like knowledge of both that only our copy and layout editor has mastered.

I Twitter. I also occasionally blog on the Escape Pod blog, which if you're here you shouldn't have much trouble finding.