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More of the Same Old Rules


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Rules for Writers

1. Verbs HAS to agree with their subjects.

2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.

3. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.

4. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.

5. Avoid clichés like the plague. (They're old hat.)

6. Be more or less specific.

8. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.

9. Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.

10. No sentence fragments.

11. Don't use no double negatives.

12. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

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I'll tell you (as if you don't already know) I embrace rule number 12.

Proofing stories that you have read a half-dozen times is tricky business. The mind often fills in the missing word as the eyes breeze through a paragraph. Not good, egg on the face time, especially after the story is posted. Fortunately (and I don't say this lightly) many readers have no qualms about pointing out the errors. Makes me wonder why I have an editor, we both missed it! Just proves that all we, as authors, need is a large bunch of readers. Is that asking too much?

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I agree, Pec. There are very, very few rules that always pertain when it comes to writing. But not being boring should certainly count as one of them.

I wish I invented that rule, but it came from film critic Roger Ebert. Ebert has said: "it's one thing for a movie to be bad, but a movie that's outrageously bad is far better than one that's boring. Boring the audience is the ultimate sin."

Maybe a sub-rule would be: "Be unpredictable." I really, really enjoy stories where I turn the page and say, "damn! I wasn't expecting this! Where is the author going to go with this story?"

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