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William Lashner's PI-Writing Blog

PI-Write

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Writers love nothing better than talking about writing. We can sit at the bar for hours and talk talk talk. We can talk about plots, about style, about first-person versus third-person, about revising and dealing with editors and going on tour. We'll talk about anything, actually, to keep ourselves from sitting down and actually doing the deed.

And yet, somewhere in all that talk there are nuggets to be gleaned that can actually help. And the benefit goes as much to the talker as to the listener. To sit at a bar and talk about a problem -- and that's what writers talk about, the endless problems -- can sometimes crystallize your thoughts enough to see a potential solution.

That's what I intend for this space, to pretend I'm at the bar, getting sloppy drunk and talking about the problems I'm dealing with day by day and crystallizing a possible solutions into a rule. Yes, I'll endeavor to end each entry with a writing rule. If I get too pedantic, slap me hard, but it's always nice to end with something solid, like the heroic couplet at the end of a sonnet.

But the problem with rules is that people want to follow them and that gets them in all kinds of trouble. These rules will be more like possibilities, to be followed sparingly and ignored liberally, but something to get you thinking. A way out of some problems that can be considered but once considered are best tossed. Which brings us to our first rule.

In writing, the only rule is that there are no rules, but you ignore them at your peril.

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