Tuesday, April 05, 2022


The other day I thought about the rules and superstitions that some folks have. When I played baseball, although I didn't go as far as wearing the same pair of socks as long as we were winning (boy, I was ready to lose after the smell got too bad) in the locker room), I did try to avoid stepping on the foul lines when I went to the mound each inning. You don't see me pitching in the majors, so you see how it worked.

My daughter, while she was in the theatre world, taught me not to put shoes on the bed. It might have something to do with a closing of a play, moving on. It never made much sense to me. However, to this day I always refer to "the Scottish play." avoiding saying Macb*** aloud. No rhyme or reason to that superstition that I can see.

People...well, writers...are always looking for sure-fire "rules," that guarantee success. Writing in the first person is difficult, but some writers do it and carry it off well. Avoiding the passive voice does indeed make the reader identify more closely with the action. But avoiding opening with the weather? If it's done well, the weather can become a character in your action. Yes, Elmore Leonard said we shouldn't do it, but it's been done and done well by some writers.

I guess some of the "sure-fire rules" make as much sense as not stepping on a foul line or saying "the Scottish play." I have only one sure fire rule...well, maybe three. Write the best manuscript possible,  edit it one more time than than you think it needs, and keep writing. Chances are, you'll hit it.


Patricia Bradley said...

Great post! I know some writers who can't start writing until their desk is clean...that so wouldn't work for me.

Richard Mabry said...

I'd never do that (although I can see what's behind it). Sounds like another way to put off sitting down and writing.

Priscilla Bettis said...

Haha, I'm one of those desk-clean writers. It's just too distracting to have stuff around me.

Richard Mabry said...

Depends, I guess, on whether you get around to writing after your desk is clean.