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Reading Lists and Rule Breaking : Writers' Block Party • Page 2 • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Reading Lists and Rule Breaking

What's going on in your writing world? Connect with the writing community here and talk about whatever's on your mind.
Curious
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RE: Reading Lists and Rule Breaking

Postby Curious » Fri Feb 03, 2006 9:48 am

But, Sip, the narration also has to reflect the protagonist's style of thinking at certain times, even if it's 3rd person omniscient. And that may cause a grammar rule to crack.

For instance, it would be the odd person who chose this:

Sylvia heard a high-pitched giggle, which instantly called to her mind the scratching sound that fingernails make on a blackboard. She turned to find that the intruder bore the familiar but threatening costume of a circus clown and wondered not only what she should do next but also how the creature had managed to make its way into her locked room.

Over this:

But wait! There it was again, that high-pitched giggle, like the rasp of fingernails against a dusty blackboard. And there, blocking the doorway--there it was again, that bloated form, that frightful caricature of a clown's cheerful costume! What to do? How to escape? How had it found its way in here?

Clare

jasipper
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RE: Reading Lists and Rule Breaking

Postby jasipper » Fri Feb 03, 2006 9:53 am


Jamesaritchie
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RE: Reading Lists and Rule Breaking

Postby Jamesaritchie » Fri Feb 03, 2006 6:20 pm

The only real rule of grammar is "Never break a rule without a good reason." Good writers break the "rules" all the time, but they never break them without a reason, and never, ever break them through ignorance. You do have to know the rules before you can break them effectively. Breaking a rule because you don't know the rule always means bad writing.

I think there's much misunderstand about older books, particularly the clasics. Those writers, too, broke the rules regularly, but they broke the rules of their time, and the way they broke the rules became the rules for our time. The way we break the rules in a manner that's effective will become the rules for the next generation.

And, of course, first person fiction, memoirs, and autobiographies have no narrative. What is called the narrative in such writing is really all dialogue. It's the writer talking directly to the reader, and the rules must follow those of dialogue, rather than those of conventional narrative.

The rule of grammar is, as I said, "Never break a rule without a good reason." The lone rule of storytelling, on the other hand, is "Thou Shalt Not Bore the Reader." These two rules work very well together when done right, when done through knowledge, and work not at all when done through ignorance.

Prof Durden
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RE: Reading Lists and Rule Breaking

Postby Prof Durden » Fri Feb 03, 2006 6:37 pm

Wow, two a week? I wish I had that much leisure time. Instead, the bane of my existence comes from reading textbooks for four or five hours a day, only to go to class and have the professor rehash everything I read. Makes me wish that college students would read, like, normally. If I do feel the need to slip in some free time fiction, I reach for one of my Pahlaniuk novels. His stuff is damn good. Let's face it, you can't really top an apocolyptic novel about trans-gendered folk.

Jamesaritchie
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RE: Reading Lists and Rule Breaking

Postby Jamesaritchie » Fri Feb 03, 2006 6:51 pm


OmenSpirits.com
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RE: Reading Lists and Rule Breaking

Postby OmenSpirits.com » Fri Feb 03, 2006 7:36 pm

I write some of my stories phenetically so some here might not 'feel' some of my work, but I also don't like to limit myself with 'correct' english for every story. Those I like to read kinda stick to the 'correct' way but in a loose way. Description more than dialogue is kept to 'correct' way, but I like to experiment in both areas.

The results are pretty fun. ;)

Linda Adams
 

RE: Reading Lists and Rule Breaking

Postby Linda Adams » Sat Feb 04, 2006 5:12 am

I stopped reading books and looking for where the writers broke the rules several years ago. It got to the point where I didn't like reading. In fact, I was convinced that books had gone seriously downhill over a ten year period! I was so overly critical that it not only interfered with my reading pleasure but it also kept me from seeing the whole picture. It's easy to nitpick the little details and say "You did this wrong!" but it's a lot harder to look at the overall story and what they did right to get published. Most readers don't care as much about the writing rules as writers do, so they aren't going to care if someone uses an adverb or not. They just want a good story that's worth the money they spent on it. Once I stopped looking at the rule breaking, I started enjoying the stories more and discovered that books in general have actually improved over time. I got some older genre books at a booksale and was shocked at how different things are today.

By the way, one of the other books everyone picks apart for rule-breaking is The Da Vinci Code. I'm pleased to say that I never even noticed any rule-breaking. But I did notice how good the story itself was.

elsalzo
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RE: Reading Lists and Rule Breaking

Postby elsalzo » Sat Feb 04, 2006 5:45 am

It's funny you would say that the Iliad is droning, jasipper, because in preliminary clinical studies researchers have discovered that reading ancient (Homeric is ancient) poetry out loud has some cardiovascular benefits. There is a rhythm to it, and also both the Iliad and Odyssey are incredibly intricate in their usage of language, ring structure sequencing, puns, and themes of what it takes to be a good man in war (the Iliad), and in peace (the Odyssey).

queenb
 

RE: Reading Lists and Rule Breaking

Postby queenb » Tue Feb 07, 2006 11:59 am

Currently, I'm reading: "Cell" by Stephen King, "Breathing Room" by Patricia Elam, and an author I did not really care for when I was younger, Isacc Asimov's, "The Gods Themselves." I found that either I'm maturing or for some odd reason my "tastes" are
changing because I'm actually enjoying "The Gods Themselves."

Anyway its kind of hard to read often. I'm trying though. Through reading, I seem to be strengthening my writing skills. So reading often works for increasing ideas, writing flow, tone, and sometimes even grammar. I have also notice alot of typos
(mispelled words, etc.) so it pays to edit, some people may not pay attention to this, editing takes effort but I think in the long run
its worth it.

Gooblink
Major General
 
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RE: Reading Lists and Rule Breaking

Postby Gooblink » Fri Feb 17, 2006 7:30 am


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