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Category: Reading/Writing

Rules For Writing : A Compilation

Thirty-five finest writers from past and present share the secrets of storytelling. This is a compilation of rules, tips, suggestions, techniques, and commandments for writing as listed by the master storytellers. Read on!

Zadie Smith

(Source: Image, Text)

  1. When still a child, make sure you read a lot of books. Spend more time doing this than anything else.
  2. When an adult, try to read your own work as a stranger would read it, or even better, as an enemy would.
  3. Don’t romanticise your ‘vocation’. You can either write good sentences or you can’t. There is no ‘writer’s lifestyle’. All that matters is what you leave on the page.
  4. Avoid your weaknesses. But do this without telling yourself that the things you can’t do aren’t worth doing. Don’t mask self-doubt with contempt.
  5. Leave a decent space of time between writing something and editing it.
  6. Avoid cliques, gangs, groups. The presence of a crowd won’t make your writing any better than it is.
  7. Work on a computer that is disconnected from the ­internet.
  8. Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.
  9. Don’t confuse honours with achievement.
  10. Tell the truth through whichever veil comes to hand — but tell it. Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never ­being satisfied.
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“I” or “i”?

Weeks before, I read few pieces where some writers used “i” instead of “I”. I was highly intrigued with this usage of personal pronoun. I even had a discussion with my tech writer friend that whether it is the correct use or not. We had indeed no answers, so, we came to a conclusion that this might be rather a modified kind of literary usage and there might be no grammatical suggestions over exactly which one of them to use.

Me, Myself, and I

An article on NY Times clears this dilemma. No other language or dialect capitalizes personal pronouns and, even, English language used dotted ‘i’ (though, the word was ‘ic’ insted of ‘i’) till the 13th century. According to “The Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology “:

Modern and Middle English I developed from earlier i in the stressed position. I came to be written with a capital letter thereby making it a distinct word and avoiding misreading handwritten manuscripts. In the northern and midland dialects of England the capitalized form I appeared about 1250. In the south of England, where Old English ic early shifted in pronunciation to ich (by palatalization), the form I did not become established until the 1700’s although it appears sporadically before that time).”

How does that make any difference? Caroline Winter says:

It’s impossible to know, but perhaps our individualistic, workaholic society would be more rooted in community and quality and less focused on money and success if we each thought of ourselves as a small “i” with a sweet little dot. There have, of course, been plenty of rich and dominant cultures throughout history that have gotten by just fine without capitalizing the first-person pronoun or ever writing it down at all. There have also been cultures that committed atrocities even while capitalizing “you.”

Read entire piece here.

Image Source: NYTimes

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