The Captain's Café is now open for business. It's well-stocked with a multitude of beverages and snacks for you enjoyment. You know what else? Somewhere in the world it's bound to be Beer O'clock, so why not indulge in a tipple?
When I started writing more seriously, back in February of 2007, there were no rules. I just got on with it and told the story. There were no rules because I wasn't aware of them, not because they didn't exist. As you can imagine, my first story Fugue in D Minus was riddled with errors which I now cringe at (I really should go back and fix them one day).
Some years down the line, I've learned of, though not necessarily obeyed, several writer's rules. Of course, we all know they're just guidelines really, not rules, but I'm sure you know the sort of things I'm talking about.
I've been thinking quite a bit about rules recently, and I have to say that I'm very hesitant about them, even sceptical sometimes. I'm starting to think that many of them are just too prescriptive for my writing. I'm not published and certainly no expert, so I may have got this totally wrong. It's just that I sometimes hear quite a few rules being quoted in a manner that suggests less real thought and more blind faith. Because they are "what you're supposed to do".
What are your thoughts on this? Do you follow the rules? What are your reasons for conforming or not conforming? To prompt your thinking, here's a list of some of the rules I can think of off the top of my head, in no particular order...
I'm sure there are loads more, so feel free to add to the list for discussion.
My current belief is that courses and how-to books are great tools in a writer's toolbox, but that we shouldn't follow their instruction without question. As a scientist I was taught to question pretty much everything. Tuition, rules and books can often teach us one way to write but not the only way to write.
Let the debate begin...