The Rules of ‘Riting

Every time I teach An Introduction to Creative Writing, I ask the students to turn to the “rules of writing” in their manual and pick the three rules they think are most important. Many say, “Writers Write”  — that’s important. Others rightly point out, “Show, don’t tell.”

While people are deciding, I try to find the overlooked rules and comment on them. A few of the overlooked rules are:

  • Don’t overuse the verb “to be” (is) (was).
  • Use short paragraphs, short sentences.

I really should be thinking about rules that I need to study, such as:

  • Show, don’t tell.
  • Use all your senses in describing.
  • Use metaphors and similes
  • And a few thousand other rules.

And, of course, there is that rule above all others ,,,Break the Rules just know which rule you’re breaking and why you’re doing it.


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