On Rules of Writing, or, Riffing on Rechy
Posted on July 16th, 2009 by Ursula K. Le Guin
In his terse and cogent essay, “When Rules Are Made to be Broken,” (LATBR, October 6, 2002), John Rechy attacks three “rules of writing” that, as he says, go virtually unchallenged in most fiction workshops and writing classes: Show, don’t tell — Write about what you know — Always have a sympathetic character for the reader to relate to. I read the piece cheering and arguing all the way.
The first two “rules” were developed in response to faults common in the writing of inexperienced writers — abstract exposition without concrete imagery, windy vagueness unsupported by experience. As guides for beginners, they’re useful. Expanded into laws, they are, as Rechy says, nonsense.
Read the rest here.