The first and last important rule for the creative writer, then, is that though there may be rules (formulas) for ordinary, easily publishable fiction – imitation fiction – there are no rules for real fiction, any more than there are rules for serious visual art or musical composition…Invention, after all, is art’s main business, and one of the great joys of every artist comes with making the outrageous acceptable… John Gardner’s The Art of Fiction
Are you a creative type? Are you an artist, writer, pastor, illustrator, photographer, leader, business person, producer, teacher or musician?
Insert your chosen profession into Gardner’s statement:
though there may be rules (formulas) for ordinary, easily CREATED POETRY – imitation POETRY – there are no rules for real POETRY
though there may be rules (formulas) for ordinary, easily CREATED SERMONS – imitation SERMONS- there are no rules for real SERMONS
though there may be rules (formulas) for ordinary, easily WRITTEN MUSIC – imitation MUSIC – there are no rules for real MUSIC
Sticking strictly to the accepted guidelines can offer you a certain level of success, but it will only take you so far.
This year, take what you know, and invent something new. Something bizarre. Something outlandish or offensive or abnormal. Take the rules that everyone else in your field follows and integrate one outrageous new thing.
Make 2012 a year worth remembering.
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Do you agree with Gardner’s assessment? What do you think about the place of rules in art?
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