So you went to a writing workshop and now you think you know everything.
You know what to do and what to avoid.
The proper way to communicate by the written word…
Well, I call hogwash.
You can write whatever you want to.
I’ll use a cheerfully written adverb if I feel like it.
And I will start a sentence with a conjunction on a whim.
The problem is that writing is art – and the quality of art is subjective.
But what do I know.
Shapiro is, however, a pro at writing workshops.
Sit around a scarred wooden table in a writing workshop for enough hours and you’ll hear write what you know, along with show don’t tell, never use adverbs, and other guidelines. And know that every rule you’ll hear in a writing workshop is meant to be broken. You can do absolutely anything—tell, not show, make excellent use of an adverb—as long as you can pull it off. Get out there on the high wire, unafraid to fall. Who says you can’t use ellipses or an exclamation point? Who says dialogue has to be indented and in quotation marks? Who says you can’t write a whole novel from the point of view of a child trapped in a room?
-Dani Shapiro, Still Writing