Welcome back to another blog hop, with #OpenBook. Here’s this week’s prompt.
What generic ‘rules’ did you abide by when you started writing that have gone out the window?
Being self-taught, I never really had any rules to follow. Grammar was always a mystery to me. In many ways, it still is. As for the conventions of writing fiction, whatever they might be, I have no idea.
I’ve probably broken all the rules that I never knew existed. I’ve always written down what I see in my head. I leave it up to my long-suffering editor to sort it all out and make sense of the technicalities.
The fact that I go into my writing space with no preconceptions means that I’m free to express myself however I want. I can just listen to the voices in my head and concentrate on getting it all down, without worrying that I might be breaking some hallowed rule. I don’t have to keep one ear open for the screech of brakes and the pounding on my door from the grammar police, or the plot patrol. Or even the Association for the Abolition of the Aberrant Apostrophe (thank you to the wonderful Keith Waterhouse for that one).
I simply try to write what I think people would like to read, a story with interest and one that’s relatable to their lives, experiences and aspirations. Even though it might be set in the future or an alternative now. My style is based on the sort of books that I enjoy reading. From Sci-fi by the masters to modern action adventures and most other genres in between.
I don’t have to worry about offending anyone with my content. There’s minimal explicit sex and gory violence in my work, largely because I don’t think you need it to get your point across. Which is not to say that there isn’t emotion, passion, action and violent death. I prefer to suggest what’s going on and leave it up to you to make it as graphic as you want in your imagination. A bit like the movies of Alfred Hitchcock. I think that doing it that way means that no part of the potential audience is ruled out.
Returning to the subject.
So what if I don’t conform to the rules? For a start, as far as I’m concerned, anything enclosed in quotation marks is exempt from any rules of grammar or form. The rest is open to debate. English might be the language of Shakespeare but a person from those times would struggle to understand my ramblings in what is nominally the same tongue. Because it changes, the language, the usage and even the wordage.
Do the self-proclaimed guardians of literary purity allow for this evolution, or is their guidance set in stone? After all, Americans, Canadians and Australians (other English speaking countries are available) all speak different versions of the same language, with unfamiliar words and constructions to each other.
When I write the words of a man from the fifty-second century (or whenever), I write them in today’s language, for your benefit. Should my work survive to meet his ilk, they will need an army of historians to work out what I was on about.
Let me know what you think about this week’s subject.
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