Writing

How to Break “The Rules”

Stick Dog cover

The Rules of Good Writing

via Chapter One of Stick Dog by Tom Watson (I’ve added helpful comments on how to break each one).

#1 Sounds are not words (except when they are—like bonk, crash, thud, whack …).

#2 Beginning, middle, and conclusion (but not necessarily in that order).

#3 “And” does not start a sentence (except when you’re trying to avoid “also” or “in addition.” And “but” does not start a sentence, except when you’re trying to avoid “though” or “however.”).

#4 No funny stuff (this is called sarcasm).

#5 Structure, structure, structure (plot, characterization, description, humor …).

#6 Follow the rules (or break the rules. The important part is knowing “why” so you make the right choice).

As for the rest of Stick Dog, Watson breaks all the rules in all the right places. The result is a really good story with wonderfully bad drawings. Our daughter Anna loved it, and so did we.

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