Thursday, September 20, 2007

Writing Rules




I have no idea where I found this poster. If you know, let me know. But it is cool.

On one of my writer lists we are talking about writing rules--mostly to do with grammar. Like, do you use their or there? Its or it's? My husband and I or my husband and me? I don't think about these things too much because I think I had so many English classes, it was beaten into my brain. Most of the time I can even spell. My biggest hang up in writing is leaving out words (I just read right over the missing word.)

I am not a primary visual learner like most writers. I process by auditory or kinesthetics most of the time. I have to say stuff out loud to understand some things. Or go through the motions--feel it. When doctoring a manuscript, I have actually laid it out, chapter-by-chapter, on my dining room floor and walked and talked through it. (Works for me.)

I have hundreds of writing books on craft. Of course, I have my favorites that I pull out whenever I want. I think my favorite advice on writing came from Stephen King's On Writing: "If God gives you something you can do, why in God's name wouldn't you do it?"

Now, some of you may be offended by his use of "in God's name," but overlooking that--what is he saying? (You know I'm going to 'splain it in my own way, Lucy.)He's saying if God gives you something you CAN do, it is incredulous to him that you'd tell God that He didn't know what He was doing when He gave it to you to do. Whoa. A little jolt of conviction, huh? Can I get an amen from the choir?

I hope you can see the writing rules above. They are the only rules you should be paying attention to for now. Yes, learn to know when to use their or there. That comes with time and study, or having a good editor or a really good crit partner who is strong in such things. But be writing every day. Stephen just wrote because that is what he was given to do. He wrote in a dark place, sticking his reject letters on a nail, using a crummy desk (when he could afford a great big nice one, he had trouble using it!)

Of course, you know I'm talking to myself here, not just to you.

7 comments:

Richard Mabry said...

Crystal,
I wish you could recall where you got the poster, because I'd love to have one hanging on the wall next to my computer. Thanks for sharing.

Christine said...

I,too, love Stephen King's book on writing and have the same problem with my 'place'to write. Seems each time I set up a little office I get robbed of it. First of all my son who got married needed a couch--there went my compfy writing couch. Then my other son needed more room for his music. There went the whole office. So, I'm back where I started from, writing on my lap top in the living room, clicking the keys annoyingly while my husband plays video games. Oh well, at least we're together. :)

LeAnne Benfield Martin said...

I love this poster! These are all good reminders.

Delia said...

Stephen Kings's "On Writing" is one of my all time favorite books on writing because he turns the writer's "should I/shouldn't I" angst into something as simple as..."If God gives you something you can do, why in God's name wouldn't you do it?"

My favorite writing advice (which I don't really know if she meant it as advice or not) is the name of Brenda Coulter's blog, "No Rules. Just Write." I love that!

Crystal Miller said...

Christine, Colleen Coble writes all of her novels in a recliner in her living room on a laptop. Works for her. Deb Raney takes her laptop out on her porch. (Sometimes she goes to a friend's B&B to get away.) You're such a good writer.(And obviously have a warm heart.)

Delia, I love Brenda's No Rules. Just Write, too! I like the way Stephen King talks about writing. It's one of my favorite books.I get it out whenever I'm wavering in spirit. I keep that quote above my desk.

Audra Silva said...

"He's saying if God gives you something you CAN do, it is incredulous to him that you'd tell God that He didn't know what He was doing when He gave it to you to do. Whoa. A little jolt of conviction, huh? Can I get an amen from the choir?"

OUCH - thanks for that slap, I think. :) Yes, I'm feeling the conviction. Amen. ;)

And I love and WANT that poster.

Audra said...

I hope you don't mind, but I quoted part of your post on my blog over on http://fff.thesilvas.com/ - a blog I run along with three of my daughters. :) I linked back to this post. (Is that okay? I included my email in case you want me to pull it.)

Audra Silva (ACFW)
herwittywords (at) gmail.com