Breaking writing rules, and an extraordinary National Trust house

On Tuesday, at the last CCWC Advanced Writing Course of the spring term (where, by the way, is spring?) we broke the rules and found that, in breaking them, a freedom and spontaneous playfulness broke into our writing. If, for instance, you change point of view in the middle of a scene, you’ll very likely discover aspects of your characters you’d never have discovered if you’d been sticking to the never-change-point-of-view-in-the-middle-of-a-scene rule. If you begin every sentence in a scene with the same phrase, you might find you’ve written a poem. If you begin every sentence in a scene with the same phrase and change point of view you might find the passage surprisingly easy to follow, and/or that it’s suddenly become funny, because writing can be sharp and clear when it’s freed from all the rules we follow so slavishly in order to write well.

If we know the rules but break them consciously, jewels may appear.

Here are some writers on their rules, from a 2010 article in the Guardian. I particularly like Anne Enright and Neil Gaiman for their humour, but they all make good sense.

And the thing I’d love to have made this month is the extraordinary Moorish-influenced, hand-carved fretwork interior at number 575 Wandsworth Road in London. It was made by the Kenyan poet and author Khadambi Asalache who left the property to the National Trust in his will. Photo: Simon Upton from this Daily Telegraph article.

Pine fretwork on the first-floor landing – the first large-scale work Khadambi Asalache did in the house 

About Angela

I write fiction about the difficulty we have when we try to say what's in our hearts.
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