Rules, Rules, Nothing but Rules

July 17, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Posted in Writing, Reading | 4 Comments
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Writers have heard all the rules … don’t use clichés, don’t use adverbs, don’t write run-on sentences, don’t use fragments, don’t use very, contractions are a no-no, watch your use of dialogue, watch your grammar, your spelling, your character development, your plot, your point of view, your audience, your time, your WPM. WPM?

Never do this, always do that.

No wonder writers give up.

No wonder writers question their every move.

No wonder writers wonder.

Writers live in the land of wonder. Never knowing whether what they are writing is right and often never knowing that whatever they write is right. Writers look to the great and the wise for guidance; to see what works and for inspiration. Nothing wrong with that. But know that writing doesn’t come from only that. Most often, it comes from being yourself, and if that means breaking all, or some, of the rules, go for it.

Rules are made to be broken. (That’s the cliché rule broken, too.)  It’s no great revelation that there is no harmony if we all sing the same tune.  Some of the greatest writers were the ones who did something different; gave us a style we’d never seen before, opened up a topic never discussed before, or showed us a reality (or a fantasy) never realized before. They didn’t just step outside the proverbial box. They made a new box and painted it in colors never seen before. Many of them before boxes had been invented.

Be that writer. Take those rules and shove them. Shove them past the comfort zones. Shove them past the neatly stacked boxes. Rearrange them for yourself. Then, watch as we all shove each other out of the way to read what you’ve written.

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The Freedom of a Kindle; Lady Liberty Strikes Again

July 10, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Posted in advice, Writing, Reading | 4 Comments
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This post is overdue. Honestly, I wish I’d thought of it sooner. Six days ago to be exact. On the day when we reflect and celebrate our freedom and all that that means, perhaps we should have been considering the freedom afforded by our Kindles.

Lady Liberty most likely had no idea of the way she was paving when she took her place in New York Harbor all those moons ago. Little did she know that as she stood there with her Kindle under her arm and her torch lighting the way that it would be centuries before we caught on.  We have had our heads buried in real books for so long that we have not taken a moment to glance up and see what she is really saying: Freedom is a Kindle.

There are those who say that the freedom of a Kindle comes at a price; the end of the paper- book-relationship, the end of ‘real’ reading, and a halt to reading in the tub. Compare those things to the freedom of having thousands of books at your fingertips, the equality of books for everyone at low or no cost, and the brotherhood of sharing those books with other Kindles. There’s no doubt that the e-reader under Liberty’s arm is here to stay, just like the Grand Old Lady herself.

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