“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”
This is an important lesson for those of us who tend not to read instruction manuals, turn Siri on for directions or listen to old people. Creative types BELIEVE everything will just work out all right, because it always has, I mean, we are still alive and kicking right?
To be alive is a matter for imbeciles. Anyone with tenacity can survive. It is the quality of life to which one lives and creates that makes a REAL life.
In order to do that, you must know the rules. Then you MUST break them.
New writers must first; read a freshman English book, seek advice from seasoned scribes and read literature.
Even if your are not writing the Great American Novel or Fiction, reading the classics will open your mind to age old ideas and concepts that flourish.
NO MATTER what you are writing, your voice and ideas must resonate and stir to keep the pages turning.
I suggest you start with the following authors who are amusing and full of philosophy:
Mark Twain, Leo Tolstoy, Ernest Hemingway and Tom Robbins. All these author’s posses a flair for vocabulary, plot and syntax not duplicated. Not only will you enjoy yourself, it will make you want to compose better. They all have that “comedic left turn” that will surprise and induce you to add more punch to your prose.
My favorite novel from each author for you to try:
1. Mark Twain- The Innocents Abroad (Unabridged). Written before World War One when Europe was intact and full of cathedrals and art, a group of New York socialites travel via ship to Europe and then to retrace the path of Jesus. Twain’s observations and travel log is one of the best chronicler of a tourist path. He breaks rules and does what he wants and it is an exciting piece.
2. Ernest Hemingway- Islands in the Stream. Found after his death and edited by his daughter, you get to experience WW2 and the true heart of this author.
3. Leo Tolstoy- Anna Karenina. The plight of women and choices that they make is never stronger than in this text from 1837. The lessons and prose still echoes today. He uses humor and subterfuge to drive his elegant points home.
4. Tom Robbins- EVERYTHING. No one commands the English language, nor breaks the rules more than this author. If a gun was to my head and I was forced to pick, I would say, Another Roadside Attraction, Jitterbug Perfume and then Villa Incognito.
Use one of the following sentences as a beginning to a story (500 words or more). During your writing, try to break one grammar rule on purpose that drives a point home.
2. The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.