Monday, August 22, 2011

Writerly Rules

Many how-to articles tell of rules for writers. I haven’t met a writerly-rule that hasn’t benefited from being broken now and then.

I just ^ did it. I made up a word, writerly. Using made up words is not a good habit for writers, the rule-makers say. James Joyce and Dr. Seuss were exempted, but they were brilliant.

And don’t use the passive voice, such as I just did. ‘Were exempted’ is passive, and passive construction is weak.

And what’s worse is that the made up word is one that ends with the dreaded ‘ly.’ Writers should not use adjectives and adverbs. Adverbs and adjectives weaken prose.

Beginning writers should follow the rules.


Dr. Seuss wasn’t always The Dr. Seuss.

Passive construction has a special place- to convey vagueness. To be a diffusing voice.

Adverbs and adjectives make good shortcuts in the right places.

I like knowing the rules, and I love breaking them.

1 comment:

  1. Yes! (Not supposed to use many exclamation marks either, but I love'em.)