What Do All These Writing Rules Really Mean?

There are tons of writing advice out in the interwebs and beyond. When I started researching the topic, I remember becoming increasingly puzzled at the rules laid down. Some of them, maxims taken from famous authors. They appear regularly in forums dedicated to writing and storytelling. But I keep thinking, that to a budding artist, don’t very specific rules become intensely limiting?

Through the eras, many kinds of writing and writing styles have been popular. Their characteristics cannot possibly be boiled down to a few bullet points.

I have personally never been able to connect these injunctions to my own fiction really, or to my evolution as a writer. Even as an Editor, sometimes the novel approach of an author playing with form, beauty and function has been the most rewarding to edit.

Which got me thinking…

What all the rules really boil down to, what they all probably mean to achieve is to prompt you to –

Be Compelling!

Compelling Writing - Radhika Mukherjee

What ever kind of book you are writing. Whether you are showing or telling. Make it so interesting that your words and your meaning forge an unforgettable path into the reader’s mind.

Which leaves you actually with a vast freedom to set down in words your particular take on the world, to show us all how uniquely you process a moment, or a thought or an issue. Or leap beyond with preternatural knowledge of other worlds or another’s deepest secrets, another’s loves and life. And to do it in the way that manages to stay true to your voice and appear irresistible to the reader.

When a carefully crafted style meets an amazing story and soulful characters, and also reveals something more about the world – absolute magic happens. And this, I think, would hold true of most fiction, literary, genre or even something deliciously intertwined.

So when you examine your writings the next time, don’t measure it through the prism of pedantic rules. Just ask yourself, for you as that primary reader of this work – Is this a compelling piece of writing?

If the answer is a resounding ‘Yes!’ You’ve definitely got something there to take forward and have confidence in. And with that aim in mind, you can polish your skills in the right direction, while being able to evolve your unique art.

Go on, give your writing the ‘compelling’ test today.

5 thoughts on “What Do All These Writing Rules Really Mean?

  1. There are many places to find writing advice, but the more I read, the more I think lots of people are simply shoveling the same words around – the original source gets lost and soon the advice turns into truisms that “everyone knows”. The advice gets shortened and condensed and loses all its original nuance as it turns into bullet-lists. Your post offers something besides what “everyone knows.” Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

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