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Rules of Writing
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I often criticize the endless "rules" to which writers looking to be published are subjected. In my opinion, the rules probably result in more bad writing than good.Do we really need still more cookie-cutter books?

But please don't get the idea that I am one of those writers who is convinced that his creative muse is being smothered, kicked, drowned, beaten, etc. (poor thing!) by the publishing industry. I'm no literary genius, in my own mind, who would awe the world if only he were allowed to do so.

I'm not a great writer, probably not even a good one. That being the case, I am perfectly happy to assemble a mystery genre framework straight out of the box, on whose sturdy artificial limbs I can hang what little oddments I keep on my skills shelf: slightly cracked insights, shabby descriptions, bright, twinkly little strings of ideas with half their bulbs burned out, and sparkling, paper-thin philosophy tinsel.

If I had to start from scratch and design and build my own framework, I'd be lost, just like so many wannabe genius writers who break all the rules are. I'm about as likely to write a non-genre novel as I am to construct a computer from assorted parts. Not very.

Still, even working within genre constraints, it is probably acceptable, and even a good idea, to ignore the laws of the publishing industry from time to time. So how do we know when and whether we should break the rules? Alas, there's no rule about that.

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