My “Rules” for Creative Writing

Written in response to Johnathan Franzen’s rules published in LitHub.

  1. Write for yourself. Write to discover yourself and the world.
  2. There is no shame in writing for money. Getting paid to do what you love is a wonderful blessing. The tortured, starving artist stereotype is unhealthy. Let’s strive to replace that with a more positive image and encourage our children to become writers, artists, and poets.
  3. Language is like clay. You can mold it however you wish. Grammar and syntax rules are nice for academic and technical writing, but when it comes to creative writing, they’re more like guidelines. For example, accents and colloquialisms can help define your setting or time period and establish your characters’ backgrounds (particularly for own voices stories).
  4. Point of view and perspective (third person or first person) are your choice depending on:
    • what type of story you are telling,
    • whose story you are telling,
    • what you want your audience to know,
    • and what you are comfortable writing.
  5. Print books are not the only medium of storytelling and creativity. TV and the  internet are also excellent platforms for writers to exercise their craft.
  6. Research can be done on any platform. Dusty old books and newspapers were once the most reliable source of information, but obviously that’s no longer the case. Use them all wisely and use them all well.
  7. We’re all learning. None of us are experts. Even the ones with degrees. Let’s be nice to ourselves and each other.

Note: I will update this list as I come up with more “rules”


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