#IWSG January 2017: What writing rule do you wish you’d never heard? Oh, and Happy New Year!


Created and hosted by the Ninja himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writers Support Group posts the 1st Wednesday of every month. Click the image to learn more or sign up.

Happy New Year Everyone! Lots of changes coming, but first…

Monthly Question: What writing rule do you wish you’d never heard?


I’ll admit that I still sometimes want to roll my eyes when I hear someone say “show not tell”, but when writing fiction, it really is a must. It’s just too bad that not everyone who strives to be a writer has had a classical education in creative writing. Most of us have to learn here, there, through trial and error, and wherever we can get viable and applicable feedback.

But if you really want to know what writing rules drive me crazy, I have two words: voice and p.o.v.

Everyone always wants to give their two cents on the writer’s voice, until the writer’s voice sounds just like theirs. I don’t think it’s wise to say “never use passive voice” because there may be times when it’s needed. It would make more sense to say, avoid using passive voice. I don’t think it’s wise to say “don’t use dialog tags”. I think it’s better to say “use them sparingly and wisely with variety.” Sometimes long convoluted sentences are part of the story, scene, or character. These and other tidbits are all opinions that can alter the author’s voice…

And just for the record, not all the best stories ever written are in first person. Why are people so against third or second person? Why can’t people handle more than one point of view?

Lastly, for me a preface or prologue is an extra bit of info to introduce the story or tease the action to come. It’s not technically part of the story and can be or not be read. So why are so many writers against them?

On a completely separate note, thank you, Chrys Fey, for your article “Dear Persistent Writer” in the last newsletter. Those words of encouragement came right when I needed it.

Also, since it’s a new year, I’ve changed a bunch of things and will be trying some new things. I’ll be posting about it all later, but wanted to mention that there may be pictures of cute dogs on my side panel at any given moment. That’s new. You’re welcome.

Also, in a rare weekend post, I’ll be announcing the winners of my Teacher cash prize and other giveaways this Saturday.


Do you strongly dislike third person or prologues?
Any changes for you this year?
Slightly random here, but do you have an active You Tube channel?


After hanging out with Alex, be sure to stop by and visit this month’s co-hosts:
Crystal Collier,
Sheena-kay Graham,
Chemist Ken,
LG Keltner, and
Heather Gardner!!


Click here to visit other IWSG blogs and sites to receive and share more inspiration and support. (This month, I’m #71).

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

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Toi Thomas

I like reading, writing, cooking, dancing, movies, and music. I'm a big kid and choose to see the world in my own special way. Yes, I'm educated, but I haven't let that stop me from being who I want to be. I'm a wife, teacher, author, blogger, and more.

15 thoughts on “#IWSG January 2017: What writing rule do you wish you’d never heard? Oh, and Happy New Year!”

  1. I tend to write prologues. I’ve always liked them. Sometimes they can be annoying if an author takes a bit from the climax and sticks it in the front, yet other times, I have read books where even this approach works.

  2. Most of those aren’t rules. They’re guidelines. Third person is TOTALLY hot in Fantasy and Sci-fi. Other genres too. I think there are just norms that most genres fall into. Regardless, I have a story that should be first person past tense, but POV character refuses to speak if I don’t write it in first person present. So annoying. But then again, so is the character. *shrugs* You just have to go with it sometimes, eh?

    1. Yeah, I guess these are guidelines, but I’ve heard people complain about them so much that you’d think there was a rule book somewhere saying, “you can’t do that”. Guess I’ve been hanging around in the wrong places.
      Hope things work out with your character. First person present can be a bit intimate at times; maybe he or she is shy.

    1. Nice try Alex, but I don’t think that counts as active. Still, that’s more than many have. I blog at least once a week. I’m hoping to post a video at least once a month.

    1. Thanks for the holida wishes and the same to you. Glad to know 3rd person isn’t so bad afterall. Happy New Year.

  3. I like third person and there are some second person pieces that worked a treat too. Many of the rules are taken to the extreme and so the point of them is lost. The best thing to do is learn the reasons behind the so called ‘rules’.

    1. I hear that. Once I started to actuall work on honing my skill as a writer, show not tell made sense and I stopped fighting it. All this other stuff, is just a matter of preference. Thanks.

  4. I love third person and prologues can be a great source of information and intrigue for a book. Both just have to be used correctly. When it comes to the show don’t tell rule it all depends on the type of book and audience. Some books do well with a lot of telling because that’s what the audience wants. Showing more is important in writing strength but not a steadfast rule.

    2017 IWSG January Co-Host

  5. I really don’t understand the resistance to prologues, either. I like them. What I’ve told others is–call it your first chapter. Then no one will have a problem with it.

    I write in first person primarily, which used to be a huge no-no, but it’s just the way I’m most comfortable. Good to know I’m now in fashion!

    1. I like first person, but I don’t think it’s always a must. Glad to hear you like prologues.

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