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Nine Writing Rules You Should Break

24 May 2011

Consider the question of whether it’s a good idea to color inside the lines.

Did Hemingway color inside the lines?

Did Austen color inside the lines?

Denise Shekerjian wrote a book about the creative process and she thinks you should break some writing rules.


1. Don’t take on taboo subjects.

Politics, religion, money, no-no sex—did I miss any? These are interesting, complicated subjects—why do you think we’ve built up taboos around them?—and an intelligent, artful treatment is a very good thing.

. . . .

6. Be your own best friend.

A case of withered spirits is not going to help a writer produce anything. So, by all means, cheer yourself up, whatever it takes. But you also have to get real. There are inherent difficulties with your chosen work—isolation, rejection, penury, and more. If you’re going to do the work, you have to reconcile the reality to the dream. Otherwise, you’ll be in a constant state of feeling had, which is not fertile grounds for good work.

7. Write about what you know.

Of course, the particulars of your own life will influence what you write. But feel free to reach beyond these boundaries to what you don’t yet know, and bring it back for the rest of us.

Link to the rest at soul of a word

Writing Advice

3 Comments to “Nine Writing Rules You Should Break”

  1. Karen (Karen LeRosier)

    Good advise.

    I believe you should learn the rules so when you break them, you’ve made a conscious decision to break them. I see Rules as guidelines, not commandments carved in stone.

    • Karen – If you know about the rule, you can also break it in a more entertaining way.

  2. Karen (Karen LeRosier)


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