Ever heard of a Brule? Commonly known as a Bullshit Rule. It exists because someone, probably decades or 100’s of years ago (in writing) invented it, and either said “You must do this,” or “You can’t do that.” By the same process as perpetual self-brainwashing (AKA social conditioning), these became passed down from teacher to student, from generation to generation. If we step back, and say “Why?” we will no doubt – in our minds or from another – hear another Brule – B to ‘prove’ that Brule A must be true. And of course Brule C supports Brule B, and Brule A proves Brule C.
Other than perhaps putting speech into quotes (why?) and using a period at the end of a sentence, there are no solid rules. There are only temporary publisher/agent imposed Brules (“Do it my way or take the highway” (OMG a cliché)), fashion-induced Brules (no use of the word ‘very’) or plain old always-existed Brules. They are all brules because all one sees are marks on paper…
Let us then start from a level playing field. There are no rules. All of these lists of do’s and don’ts, ‘banned’ words, speech must be in double quotes, ad infinatum…. go read some classics the same people hold up and see how many of these brules they followed. Across, the board – none. And they tell far more than show – lmao.
There is an ever growing crowd of published clones, robots, androids filling the shelves with the same books. Read one and you’ll have read them all, just using words in a different order. The old ‘conform or die’ mentality.
Isn’t it about time “we” – writers, editors, publishers, agents – got real? (Damn, another cliché). Let us just (oh, a banned word) write for goodness sake (Ah! Cliché). There will always be good writing and bad writing, the reader can tell. Not a measuring stick generated mostly by computer programs (nope, it only scores 4.7 – reject). Read the damn manuscript. To fellow writers. Write.
Suddenly, the world is a very happy place and we all live happily ever after…..
Pix (c) John Tonn