WoW: The “Rules” of Writing

Welcome to Wordsmithing on Wednesday, where we discuss ways to take our writing to the next level.


A Moment of Inspiration . . .

That’s what I experienced when I read my agent’s post, “Writing Rules are Just Tools.”

Rachelle Gardner tackled a topic that has caused many writers to wonder: how do we respond to the “rules” we hear bandied about the blogosphere?

Rather than restate the wisdom she so aptly shared, I recommend you read her post by following the link above.


What I Learned . . .

Focusing on the details can be detrimental if we don’t have the big picture in place. Sure, it’s helpful to know where to place a comma or when we can omit certain words in order to tighten our writing, but I feel led to cover a broader range of topics.

Our biggest challenge as writers is to tell a compelling story and make our writing sing. With that in mind, I plan to shift the focus of my WoW posts. Rather than sharing editorials tidbits as I have been, we’ll be looking at ways we can become more adept wordsmiths.

Each Wednesday, either a guest or I will present a writing technique and invite you to join the discussion. Together, we’ll learn to make our words work for us.


I Wanna Know . . .

How do you feel when you encounter another “writing rule” while cruising cyberspace?

Do you tend to view the “rules” as something you “should” incorporate in your writing, or do you see them more as tools or guidelines?

Since I want RWotJ to be a place where you can find topics of interest to you, what are some techniques you’d like to explore as we endeavor to become better wordsmiths?

About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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4 Responses to WoW: The “Rules” of Writing

  1. When I first started writing, I was so stuck on obeying all the rules that it sucked my own voice out of me. I think that was a vital part of my learning process, though. Now I still analyze my writing for the rules, but I also understand when it’s okay to break them.

    As far as topics to explore, I always love learning more about metaphors and similes…how to incorporate them without overdoing it.

  2. Hello Keli, I enjoyed Rachelle’s post as well.

    I think being the “Left-handed-Louie” that I am that my approach to “writing” came to me backwards. I began as an incurable story teller. I followed my mother as she cooked our meals, hung out the laundry, and walked along the avenues. I was in a constant state of babble.

    The advantage I was “given” and don’t kid yourself, it is a “gift,” was the ability to tell a story.

    I learned the hard way much later that telling a story needs to be followed up with the discipline to polish and perfect the way we present it.

    I read the dozens of articles, books and blogs on the rules. I try to take the advice I am given, but when I am writing, commas, compound sentences or even at times the passive voice are the farthest from my mind. I write until the story is out and then … then I go through the process of cleaning up the first, second … and we all know … how ever many drafts it takes to get it right.

    A topic you might explore, is how we should all learn how to critique and be beta readers for others. For two reasons: one, because we all need to learn to pay forward and because each time we critique someone else, we are also learning. The caveat is to be positive, honest and kind. Don’t crush young dreams, nurture them.

    Thanks once again for a great post!

  3. T. Anne says:

    I sniffle hard at the rules but obey them best I can. I really have a hard time coloring inside the lines, always have. =)

  4. When I hear about one more rule, I ask myself whether I have obeyed the rule in my MS and, if not, I examine the good reasons why I should and change it or decide that I should not. I am not writing this comment with any rule in mind, but in the early stages of my MS, I learned of rules that were basic and following them greatly improved my MS.

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