Writing Rules #1

Over the course of the last year, I’ve attended the Rochester Writer’s Group meetings. Once a month, local writer’s submit their work for peer review. So far, I’ve had 5 chapters reviewed by the other writers. It has been a helpful experience, and I feel that all of my chapters have improved because of the critiques of the group.

I’ve learned some writing rules in the process. Of course, I understand that the term ‘rules’ may be too strong, but these are helpful guidelines to assist in making writing better.

One of the first things that I learned was that when labeling characters in a scene, their label/name should not change.

For example, in one scene I was writing about the principle at the school, and I referred to him as: ‘The Principal’, ‘Principal Heim’, and ‘Mr. Heim.’ The reason I did that was to avoid repetition of always using the same label, ie, ‘Principal Heim.’ However, I was told that within a single scene, I should always use the same label to avoid confusion.

That does not mean that I must refer to this person in the same way throughout the book. It also doesn’t mean that the characters must use the same terminology in their dialogue. Characters can call other characters whatever you want them to.

It is just a general rule to write by.


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