Wednesday, August 31, 2016

My Rules of Writing by J.Q. Rose, Back to School

Are you a writer?

Welcome to the J.Q. Rose blog. It's Back to School time, so I decided to put on my writerly hat and get serious about talking writing. Well, as serious as I can be anyway. 

This summer I have been working on my memoir. (I love that word, memoir. It sounds so writerly and serious.) And to tell you the truth, enjoying it very much. 

The major rule in memoir writing is telling the truth. But what other rules do I follow as a writer? How do I write in order for my readers to have a satisfying experience in reading? Here are a few Rules I have discovered when I put pen to paper. I bet you can add some of your own to this list. Feel free to do so in the comments below. I'd love to know.

My Rules for Writing by J.Q. Rose

In no particular order of importance--

1. Grammar--To allow readers to enjoy the story or information I provide, grammar, also referred to as sentence structure, is important. Too long, too short, too rambling? I would also include spelling and punctuation as something that has to be correct for anyone to make sense of the sentence. (Maybe my background as a teacher influences my obsession for correct spelling and punctuation.)

2.  The story or article must make sense--If a reader is scratching her head trying to understand what I am writing, then I have broken this rule. The sentences must flow together to develop the idea, the setting, the characters, the plot in such a way that the reader can picture all of it without needing an interpreter to explain everything. This takes a lot of time and practice to accomplish.

Writing quote from Nathaniel Hawthorne
John Steinbeck makes this point about writing--“If there is magic in story writing, and I am convinced there is, no one has ever been able to reduce it to a recipe that can be passed from one person to another. The formula seems to lie solely in the aching urge of the writer to convey something he feels important to the reader. If the writer has that urge, he may sometimes, but no means always, find the way to do it. You must perceive the excellence that makes a good story good or the errors that makes a bad story. For a bad story is only an ineffective story.”

3.  Just do it--The only way a story/article will be written is if the writer really wants to do it and sits down at the keyboard or writing pad and empties her heart and brain on the paper. Talking about the story or reading books on how to write does not reach your goal of having a finished piece of writing.  Even after starting the writing project and the author perceives it to be trash, at least there is something on the page to revise. 
Writing quote from Anne Lamott
I could go on and on with wonderful quotes about writing. I love them. Do you?

Do you have rules for your own writing? Maybe you were never aware that you do follow your own rules. Please share if you are willing. Your thoughts might inspire another. Thank you.

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Juneta key said...

These are two of my favorite writing quotes.

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” ― Ray Bradbury

“You should write because you love the shape of stories and sentences and the creation of different words on a page. Writing comes from reading, and reading is the finest teacher of how to write.” ― Annie Proulx

Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

J.Q. Rose said...

Excellent quotes. I have talked with people who want to be writers, but they don't read. Say what? Odd. Thanks for stopping in!

emaginette said...

Thanks for the rules we share a few. :-)

Anna from elements of emaginette

J.Q. Rose said...

Great minds think alike, Anna! :-)

Marsha said...

Loved this post, JQ, especially the first quote. I feel that pressure all the time. Do you have a real job? Jeeeze. My favorite quote is from James Michener: "I'm not a very good writer, but I'm an excellent re-writer." Now I'm not excellent, but this helps get me past my expectation that the first words on the screen will be just perfect. Sometimes it takes twenty redos and then they may not be perfect, but they're lots better and you have to decide good enough. And now I'm taking myself off social media to look at the next book. Thanks for the inspiration, JQ, and I shared. :)

J.Q. Rose said...

Thanks, Marsha. Glad you found the post inspiring. Your comment made me feel warm and fuzzy. Mr. Michener has it right. Wouldn't it be fun to share your very first draft with readers? Or probably not. They'd be surprised at all the changes to the ms. I tried to give up being perfect at 12 years old, but I'm afraid it creeps up on me when editing my work. I hate it when I fall short of perfection!

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