Yes, yes, I know that the only rule in writing is that there are no rules, but that's not strictly true, is it? We know if the dialogue tag says, 'he asked wonderingly.' then it's probably not the best book ever. It's not a hard and fast rule, but it's certainly in the region of being a guideline. And you do have to know what the rules/guidelines are before you can go around discarding them. Although that rule isn't set in stone either, apparently. Right. Anyway. These are some of the rules that I have broken.
- Don't have kids. I'm quite glad I ignored that bit of advice. Stupid advice. Writers have to be selfish, do they? Why? You want to write, you will. You don't need all the time in the universe. You don't need not to share yourself around with anything else. Grow up. *
- Don't use any other dialogue tag than 'said'. I quite like people to shout occasionally. Or huff. Or spit. Just to break up the monotony. But in a comedic piece you can't beat a good 'he said'. 'He said' is quite funny, sometimes. I'm not sure why.
- Don't tell the reader the moon is shining. Show them the glint of moonlight on broken glass. Yes, but what about when you've got acres of stuff to get through and you've just lovingly described their discarded wedding dress on the bed or their forgotten doll high on the shelf or some such? Sensory overload does exist, I'm sure of it. Choose what to show and what to tell. Decide what's important. Yeah.
- Don't make your main character unlikeable. Erm, guilty. Likeable and interesting aren't the same thing, though, are they? And when we first meet a character, our impression of them doesn't have to be true. We have to get to know them. We might hate them to start with, and end up loving them. Even though they're still unlikeable. I like lots of unlikeable people. Grumps are fun. Maybe don't put your reader totally inside the head of a complete git might be more pertinent advice.
- Don't use adverbs. Ah, heck. Again, in comedy, you can't beat a good adverb sometimes. She opined grandiosely.
So what is true about being a writer? You won't learn unless you keep reading and writing, I think. Not consciously dissecting it, but doing it until it gets stuck in your head and you begin to know without knowing when a piece of writing is good. Oh bum, that's pants advice too.
*I should point out that I'm not saying you should have kids. Please don't go around procreating because I said so. I'm just saying, you know, if you wanna, and you're all in a good place with it, do it. Blimey, what a minefield.