Why I Hate Do’s and Don’ts in Writing


One thing I constantly see on forums and hear a lot from beginning writers (and some creative writing teachers/professors) is the listing of “Do this…” or “Don’t do that…” After a while it starts to piss me off and here’s why.

Like any other art, or skill, a writer needs to learn all the rules at his or her disposal. The reason for this is to know which ones you can break, when you can do it, and how you can do it. Most, if not all, best-selling novels, or shows, have broken many of them.

How many of us have read a book and been told that the character is a “Mary Sue”? Frankly, I could care less if the character is one, but it seems the drive newbies out of their minds trying to figure out how to “keep from creating one.” Well, if your damn character is one, then so be it! The reader doesn’t give a rat’s ass about it as long as they enjoy the story!

The key to selling a book to an agent and publisher is the quality of the story and how you put things together. They’re looking at whether or not it’s commercially viable and sometimes the stereotypes are what sell. I know it sucks to hear someone say that, but everything is a business and money has to be made or heads start to roll.

Another one is: self-publishing is a waste of time. Now if you’re looking at printing books, then yes it is. If you’re looking to publish digitally, then it’s not quite the major disadvantage it was before. But, here’s the catch: you’re in charge of your own marketing, editing and cover picture. None of these come cheap so be prepared to put some money out to make them look well.

I’ve also noticed established authors don’t spend time worrying about the rules either. As I’ve stated before they’ve learned how to bend some, break others and how to blend it into a good story. That, my friends, is the key to good writing.

Everything boils down to how well you write.

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