#IWSG - Writing Rules

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a once-monthly blog hop aimed at sharing our doubts and concerns, while encouraging one another with assistance and guidance. As the lighthouse image suggests, it’s a beacon in the dark and a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

September's IWSG Question: What writing rule do you wish you’d never heard?

That's a tough one because, to be honest, I see the 'rules' of writing as more suggestions or guidelines. No two people write the exact same way, and I love it when I discover a book that challenges the norm in the way it's told or the way it's structured. Besides, there's a huge difference between following the letter of the law and the intent.

Take, for instance, the old standard of "write what you know." My three self-published horror stories do follow the intent of that rule, in that there's a lot of "what I know" in each. Asanserophobia Infidelity started with my own very basic fear of elevators; Domestic Musophobia grew from witnessing my wife's fear of bugs and mice; and Monstrous Anthropophobia has its origins in darker experiences with depression and introverted shyness. So, yes, there's some "write what you know" there.

However, I've never beaten, abused, or murdered anyone. I have never burned to death, choked to death, or been crushed to death. Not once have I encountered a psychopath, a monster, or a dragon. What's more, I am generally not one for confrontation, and there's a whole lot of confrontation in those stories.

So-called writing rules are good for providing basic structure, and have some value in creating a common reading experience, but you do with them what you will.


  1. No dragon? Bummer. Good that you don't know the other things though. Yeah, those of us who write speculative fiction don't normally write what we know.

  2. I've never really gotten "write what you know." I think if I only wrote what I knew, it would be pretty boring.


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