Sometimes it can feel like all the writing world is made of is rules. Endless rules. You write them down and watch the list spiral across the floor and bounce against the skirting board. You scrawl them on receipts, and overdue bills, and the remnants of Friday’s takeaway box. You shove them into cupboards and drawers, and that little space in between the fridge and the counter top, which by the way what is that even for. Sometimes, when you think nobody is looking, you sprinkle them into the carpet.
But the thing about rules is you don’t always have to follow them all.
We all have rules. Sometimes they’re silent, whispered from the shadows as we contemplate which punctuation rule to break in order to push 141 characters down to just 140. Sometimes they make themselves known in the opinions of others, and the writings of friends. Sometimes they’re practically gospel. But think about it. If we all followed the rules all of the time writing would be approx 78.5 percent harder than it already is and writing is hard, yo, so don’t make me do that.
Just as a person made up from a checklist of what you think makes people cool would actually probably be a person you would run away from as fast as you could because WHAT IS THIS MONSTROSITY? Thus it is with novels. Thus it is with fiction. Thus it is with life.
I can never follow the rules when I write, at least not all of them, because often I don’t see the point to them all at once all of the time. Good writing isn’t just about rules. I think it’s about feeling, and emotions. It’s about falling into the abyss and finding the crack where the light falls in. It’s many things. But it’s not an amalgamation of rules.
What rules do you have? What is that space between the fridge and the counter top for?