Rules, when to chuck ’em

Some rules are meant to be broken, others meant to be bent…others meant to be thrown out altogether.

I have been asking many people, out of curiosity. Not because I plan on changing certain things, but simple curiosity. What I found was a bit shocking.

So I went looking further and found web logs, even articles on news sites, editorials, youtube videos. And all had the same tone, the same matra, the same…sameness.

The question I asked is irrelevant, but it was a punctuation matter. I know the rule, but in my case, it was counter productive. In fact, rules are there for clarity, like a period at the end of the sentence. But in my case, certain commas and periods broke the flow, and made a reader understand something else.

The reaction I received was odd, from people pulling hairs from their skulls, to downright disgusting bouts of textual violence. Now, as a writer, especially online, I am careful, and polite. I will not insult anyone just out of reaction. In real life, I stand my ground. Even with some disabilities, I won’t shy away from a fight. I assume most are the opposite.

But that isn’t the issue. To me it was that reaction, of totally losing it when confronted with somebody who does things differently, who thinks differently, and has the audacity to be that way.

I can go into a lot of depth, at how this is a pandemic, plaguing us culturally in every aspect of life, the inability to debate and dialogue with another of different opinion. I won’t. I’m more concerned with things regarding literary matters.

Not everything must be written according to the same rules, the same style, the same…sameness. I was wracking my mind to find out why this is so. Why so many articles give top 10s of rules to follow, and not just for marketing, but for actually writing. If you need to follow rules for inspiration on writing or creating any art, then you’re not creating art. Same goes for writing. Just quit while you’re ahead.

But we don’t believe in saying “You suck”, no sirree. We’re all great. Well, guess what, most books we encounter today are utter crap.

“Sales will reflect that.”

You might be right, but not so. You may never come across somebody’s great work, simply for it being drowned in the hundreds of thousands of other novels, music, poetry, paintings, etc

And now add the final blow. The reason why these rules are upheld so vehemently. They aren’t upheld out of conviction or even logic. Most are brainwashed to following the rules set forth. They do this to ensure only certain authors, books, genres get those dwindling consumer dollars.

Consumerism.

That’s why you have rules. To have an assembly line, from software to edit, to generic formats for plot, to cookie-cutter characters. All suffering from sameness for assembly line manufacturing.

It’s great if you’re up there and set those rules yourself. We all know them, so I won’t give them free advertising. But they can only write so much, even the most prolific. So you have others create similar works, to satisfy the consumer need.

Readers are dumb too and can’t focus on a different style.They get bothered by different writing styles. I may insult some potential readers of mine, but I don’t want them. Nope. I’m sure that many will wonder if I’m serious. Before you dedicate more neurons to that question, I will say this.

“50 Shades of Gray” was picked up by a publisher, became a best-seller, and turned into a movie.

Now tell me if art isn’t dead, but just purely consumerist?

 

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2 thoughts on “Rules, when to chuck ’em

  1. Most people are willing to follow rules, but that isn’t exclusive to US culture or any contemporary culture. Much of the hoo hah over writing rules is simply mindlessness being passed on (If it was good enough for Grandpa, it’s good enough for me.) There’s also an element of defensiveness. Undercut one belief and the structure is in danger of falling. Last — for this discussion — many of the people asking for rules wouldn’t be able to function without them. The streams of garbage books are the result of the bandwagon mentality — people who can’t really write, who have no imagination, but see writing as the pot of gold. Follow the rules, churn out what’s proven to sell, and sit back while the money rolls in. Supposedly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sad but you may be right. I wish…I REALLY wish I didnt have to write for financial gain. But alas, this is the curve ball life threw at me. Still, I refuse to follow that mantra of writing the next zombie/vampire/StarWars/romance. If I fail, oh well, but if I success, then I can hold my head up and say I ….I really didnt want to quote Sinatra…really corny. But you get it, hehe.

      Liked by 1 person

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