Tools, Not Rules

June 11th, 2004 · No Comments
by Booksquare

We have, over the course of our life, given away more copies of Strunk and White’s Elements of Style than we can count (it is a point of pride that we have singlehandedly kept the book on the bestseller list). In this excerpt from Ben Yagoda’s book The Sound on the Page, we are reminded that slavish devotion to all advice for writers (and there is more than we can catalogue) is the road to ruin. Yagoda suggests that not even E.B. White followed his dictates to the letter. Style and voice are, in our opinion, the essence of good writing, and each author must discover his or her own. It’s there; we promise. It isn’t so much the story as how the story is told. By way of example, in our previous post, we talked about the lack of respect for romance novelists. One argument is “it’s a formula. Anyone can do it.” Well, actually, it’s a framework (and, as always, we challenge “anyone” to do it…we certainly couldn’t) — how an author unfold sthe story within that framework is what keeps readers coming back.

File Under: Tools and Craft