Almost every writing “rule” can be broken. I offer three meta-principles for why that is and some thoughts on how we should approach the rules if they can be broken.
Reading like a writer.
There’s a lot of writing advice out there. It is not difficult to find. It is also not difficult to feel overwhelmed by it all and, consequently, a bit inadequate as a writer. You do not need to follow all of it. In fact, if you can differentiate between descriptive and prescriptive advice, you’ll be on your way to cutting through the glut.
In my MFA program, we were required to read 80 books over the two-year course of study. Like most writers, I was already a voracious reader, but time constraints and job demands had meant that I read far fewer than 40 books a year. In reading such a large volume of books, though, I came to embrace some tenets of story consumption: