What Is A Best Practice

Before I get started I want to recommend a website to anyone interested in writing. It’s called “The Writer”. It has all sorts of articles from various types of writers. It is both inspiration and educational.

Keep that intro in the back of your head for a moment. I want to go back a few decades to my primary school days. I grew up in the 60’s, 70’s and hit high school and college in the early-mid 80’s. Back then, when dinosaurs were plaid, boys did math and girls did english. (There is still some sexual bias in these fields today.) I mention this because, as a boy, I was already being steered away from any sort of writing career. In addition to these societal norms, I had a natural aversion to writing because of the rules. By rules, I mean all the exceptions to every rule.

We would spend weeks defining what words went where in a sentence. (Diagramming sentences should be illegal.) Our teachers would squeeze the joy out of creative thought. Then, when you thought you had things figured out, and could hopefully move on from this desert of dictation, they would pull out the exceptions. I found there were as many exceptions as there were rules. In my simple mind, if your rules have lots of exception then they probably are not really rules. They are more like suggestions everyone should follow.

This brings me back to my favorite site, as well as the writing courses I took earlier in the summer. There are lots of best practices writers should use. Plot Summaries, Character definitions, defining the premise for you story, and even scene definition, or as I like to call it, chapter outlines. These are all wonderful tools. I personally have found using these have greatly improved my first drafts. The website gives you lots of articles on these different topics. The articles are good and present some great direction for early writers and even experienced writers.

However, if you read the articles by writers on their writing you will find exceptions. There are some people who do some of these, and some writers that completely ignore all of it and prefer to flounder for awhile until their story takes shape.

Much like a painter has her favorite brush, or a musician has his favorite instrument, writers have their preferred habits. They also have their preferred writing styles. That does not mean you should not learn about new practices, or even revisit old ones. It does not mean you should not attempt to always improve on your prose. It does mean is you should work with what is best for you.

Getting our stories out in interesting ways should always be our number one priority. If that means you work best rewriting the first chapter for a month until your story takes shape, you do that. If sitting in a crowded Starbucks people watching inspires your writing, enjoy your java. Art pops when the artist works in the way that works best for them. Find your creative happy place and let your story shine!



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