Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Steer by the Stars

"There is no satisfactory explanation of style, no infallible guide to good writing, no assurance that a person who thinks clearly will be able to write clearly, no key that unlocks the door, no inflexible rules by which the young writer may steer his course. He will often find himself steering by stars that are disturbingly in motion."
~ E. B. White
 
 
So true.
 
If you want to see how to play with the rules we writers do have, read SHATTER ME, by Tahereh Mafi. Wow . . . that girl can write! And she does it while following her own rules. Delicious, every word. 
 
In The Underneath, Kathi Appelt does the same thing with equally delicious results.
Are you willing to write by your own rules? 
Or do you play it safe? 

16 comments:

Faith E. Hough said...

Awesome quote! I have to print that one out.

Old Kitty said...

I'm in awe at any writer confident and talented enough to play by their own rules! Yay !!!!

Me -I play safe! Oh dear! Take care
x

KarenG said...

As long as the talent is there, and the connection with the reader, writers can play by their own rules, and these are the books that we remember.

Tere Kirkland said...

I fear I don't take as many risks as I could... but I favor a sort of old fashioned style. At least, that's how it seems to me. Totally jealous and amazed by those who can break new ground like Mafi, but I know I'd be emulating instead of innovating if I tried to change my style.

Awesome quote!

Patti said...

I would hope that I'm the kind to write by my own rules, but I guess I probably stay in a little bit of a box.

Mary Aalgaard, Play off the Page said...

Oh, I want to do most things by my own rules, then I get all nervous about it!
Play off the Page! That's my motto afterall.

mshatch said...

definitely like writing/thinking outside the box - not all the time since it depends on what I'm writing but I do believe in stretching myself :)

Laura Josephsen said...

I tend to just write my way and see how the pieces fall. That quote is great. :D

Kelly Polark said...

I'm a rule follower by nature, but I think I let loose a little when I write.

Jennifer Rumberger said...

Love the quote. Thanks for sharing!

Natalie Aguirre said...

My daughter is reading my copy of Shatter Me. I can't wait to read it.

The Golden Eagle said...

Great quote!

Most of the time, I play it safe. But I've been known to break the rules, when I thought it would work for the overall story.

Jemi Fraser said...

I'm definitely taking more chances and risks as I learn more about this whole writing business! You gotta know the rules before you break them - and I'm learning & breaking lots now! :)

Meredith said...

I definitely aspire to write by my own rules. We'll see how it works out. And I want to read both of those books!

Mason Ian Bundschuh said...

Yes, yes, and triple yes!

The English language is so facile, so supple, is it not our duty as writers to bend it, test it, take it to its very limits and express what is inexpressable--in defiance of the derision of those for whom words are merely utilitarian bludgeons.

That quote got me all giddy.

Krispy said...

I'm reading Shatter Me right now, and I totally know what you mean about Tahereh Mafi's writing. It breaks so many rules, but it's so emotive, all of it. I'll play with rules, and I'd like to bend a few more of them, but I'm not as brave as that. Haha.

Thanks for sharing this quote!

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