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[ profile] fashionista_35 sums up and says better than I ever could every thing I think about the whole "writing rules" meme going around.

As far as I'm concerned (and I said this an entry or two back), there is only one writing rule: WRITE. That's it.

I feel about writing the way The Fat Nutritionist does about eating, I suppose. I think any advice or assistance or comments on writing have to start with the premise (and I appropriate from her here): Write. Stuff you like. As much as you want.

Which, for both eating and writing, are radical premises. If you're a writer or a person who pays attention to any health news, you know the world is full of people who want to tell you what to do. Who tell you these things as though you're a complete idiot who can't be trusted on their own to eat or write properly.

And while both writers and eaters (ie, everyone who eats food) may need guidance, especially when complex issues get in the way, either health problems or a desire to get published. That's fine. And lots of us have had our internal compasses turned discombobulated or destroyed by concern-trolling and bad advice and authority figures (parents, teachers, mentors) who meant well but thought that we couldn't be trusted on our own to know good from bad and right from wrong. And sometimes to reverse that damage, you do need some guidance.

But remember, there's just one rule: WRITE. Everyone thing else is an opinion or suggestion or strategy or somebody's best educated guess. You take what works, you leave the rest.

This is, coincidentally, why there are some agents and editors I have come to love dearly on their blogs. Like agent Holly Root who says wonderful things concerning do's and don'ts that people hand out to writers when it comes to querying and agents. This, especially:

So here's what you can take away from the bajillion bytes on the subject: Write the best book you can, then the best query you can. Submit written materials to agents. The worst they can say is no so don't worry about fine-tuning that to the nanometer, just look for the right ballpark (i.e., alive, still in the business). Then press send.

That's it.

Take the rest as it comes. And never, ever let any of the voices on the internet, no matter how helpful or authoritative they aim (or claim) to be, take away from your ability to hear your own unique authorial voice.

The power of an agent talking to writers (in general and specifically) as though they are adults completely capable of being trusted to do a good job and don't need condescension is mindblowing. I want to draw hearts around these agents, and I'm sad sometimes when they don't rep the kind of books I write. 'cause damn, these are the kind of people that keep me psyched about the idea of getting published and getting to work with such cool folk.

And then there are some agents who's advice seems to come with the premise: "Look, I know you (ie, writers) are idiots and I spend my days drowning in your idiocy so I'm gonna tell you what to do because you can't be trusted to know on your own."
I'd name names, because yeah, I have some very specific people in mind who like to dole out this kind of advice and these are agents who I've noticed don't seem to be very happy in their professional lives (I don't know or care about their personal ones). But honestly? I don't want that kind of drama.

Suffice it to say, I'm here to sing the praises and spread the gospel of The One Rule. Because there is just one: WRITE. Stuff you like. As much as you want.

Date: 2010-03-01 07:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes, absolutely.

The Fat Nutritionist is absolutely right that eating what you want to eat doesn't mean you're going to eat a cake for dinner and a bacon cake for breakfast - hopefully over time you're going to pay attention to your body and learn how it feels and how that changes depending on what you eat.

And with writing, too, I think you just have to put in the time and effort with developing your craft, and you'll develop an intuitive knowledge of the rhythms of prose. But I don't think that you'll develop that kind of intuitive knowledge while you're obsessing about not using adverbs, any more than you'll learn to listen to your body by following verbatim the latest diet fad.

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