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The NO RULES rule

The first and most important rule of writing is that there are NO rules, only suggestions. Depending on what you are writing, who you are writing for, and what you want to achieve with your writing, the writer can do as they please. The web and books are filled with all sorts of rules. They encourage us to avoid clichés, to use simple grammar, short sentences, the list goes on. But in reality, the notion of giving rigid rules to be followed by artists if applied across the board would have meant no art form would have ever evolved. 

There are writers like Chimamanda and Paulo Coelho that pen their words to be comprehensible by the least literate of readers, and there are the Soyinkas and Hemmingways that will have your scratching your head and fighting a headache. Even beyond just sentence structure, it isn’t unheard of for writers to deliberately use grammatically incorrect phrases, repetition and even invented words, just ask Shakespeare. On the course of learning how to write, it is easy to get carried away and bugged down by the rules of mechanics, forgetting the more important elements like story, themes, characters etc. This is largely because the literary critical community is often made up of critics that judge writers based on general aesthetic criteria. In art, it was the same measurement against standards that caused the likes of Edward Munch and Vincent Van Goug to be met with criticism when they tried to breakaway from traditional form.

It is important that as a writer, you understand that the pages your fill are no different from the canvas of artists. It is yours to do as you please, and it doesn’t have to agree with the standard. So next time someone calls you out for a part of your writing you intended to have artistic value, remind them that it is never a crime to experiment with form.    

willifmoore · 501 days ago
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