Writing and rules-it is possible to have one without the other?

Stephen King (perhaps you've heard of him?), my new BFF, has a few opinions on the matter of writing. (If you haven't read On Writing yet, I highly recommend it. And I'm not just offering up that recommendation to the writers out there, but even to non-writers, as well.) I'm not particularly drawn to memoirs, but I was totally down to reading about his life and what made him who he is. Plus, he's my Uncle Stevie, as any of you who are avid Entertainment Weekly readers like me, will know. So we're close like that.

Of course, I took away a lot of great advice from On Writing; enough, in fact, to where I'm going to have to read it again, not as a form of entertainment this time, but as a learning instrument only, whereby I'll have a pencil in hand and underline all the pertinent stuff. But a few things stayed implanted in my brain even after the first read, and I thought I'd share.

1) Against what I've always done, Mr. King says you should add an 's after a plural noun.

2) He feels the plot shouldn't be as stressed as just telling the story, as in, outlines and whatnot aren't necessarily necessary.

3) Like most writers/agents/ect. have also commented, adverbs are like a bad disease - it doesn't take long for them to spread all over the place.

There are many other points I appreciated as well, but I'll leave those to a possible later post.

How about you? Are there any "rules" you've learned that have bettered your writing skills? Ones you don't particularly agree with?


Cassandra Frear said...

When Shakespeare needed a new word, he just made one up! How's that for rule breaking?

Jessica L. Brooks (coffeelvnmom) said...

LOL Cassandra! That's a great one!

Nicole said...

adverbs can be used well too though. As any of his books are a shining example of :) And I think whether or not you use a plot is entirely up to you. If it makes your writing stilted then don't do it but if it stops you making major screw-ups in the story you might want to consider it :)

Lila Swann said...

Love, love, LOVE On Writing & Stephen King's EW columns (although I'm not a horror fan, so his actual fiction books aren't my cup of tea). My copy is tattered from how many times I've read and reread and marked!

If you liked that, another writing book that I enjoyed was Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, you should check it out. :)

Little Ms J said...

Loved On Writing. Such a great book.

Jessica L. Brooks (coffeelvnmom) said...

I will, Lila! Thanks!