1. Fullmetal Xeno

    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

    Jul 15, 2011
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    Kingdom of Austniad

    Do you think Every aspect of Writing has a Rule of Thumb?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Fullmetal Xeno, Jul 17, 2011.

    I was discussing with my sister about the book Eragon, and we were talking about the qualities about the Elves and Dwarves, and how most of the book is too similar to Lord of the Rings and Star Wars. But then i was talking about changing the qualities and switching stuff because i think it's original. Then she started to explain more reasons why there's a rule of thumb. It's kinda of a long story, but im trying to somewhat shorten it.. anyway, don't you think it's a great idea to totally change things or to switch things around to make things more original? I know somethings shouldn't be drastically changed and re-hauled, but i just think that there's needs to be something entirely new into the mix.

  2. Ellipse

    Ellipse Contributor Contributor

    Jun 8, 2010
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    I always looked at things as having guidelines rather than rules. They'll guide you along a good track most of the time, but if you try something different once in a while you will be pleasantly surprised. :)
  3. colorthemap

    colorthemap New Member

    Nov 19, 2010
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    The issue with Eragon is not the plot similarities it is the fact that the writing style is so un-captivating. It goes on ugly tangents and has no style, making us pay more attention to the lacking in plot that rests in every novel in some way.

    Except for maybe Beowulf because that was the first English novel we have found :D

    (no holy books are not novels)
  4. spklvr

    spklvr Contributor Contributor

    Oct 29, 2010
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    Sarpsborg, Norway
    Agree that Eragorn's problems is bad writing. I couldn't really get through any of those books. My best friend is a huge fan though, so it must be doing something right. To be honest, I think an amazing writing could take every clishe there is and shove it into a story, and it would still be amazing.
  5. EdFromNY

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Jun 13, 2010
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    Queens, NY
    There are rules of thumb - or guidelines - in narrative structure, generally accepted principles among writers and editors as to what constitutes good story telling. Some of these are trends of the moment. A good example is the current disdain for anything that isn't directly related to the story. The current "rule of thumb" relates to what readers generally acclaim as good writing. You can "break" these "rules", but if you hope to publish your work, it will be much more difficult in an already difficult field (of course, those who "break" the "rules" and still get published are sometimes acclaimed as "brilliant").

    But it seems to me that what the OP is talking about are similarities in plots or characters among several different works. This is more in the nature of "formula writing", which is to say writing in a manner that is very similar to what has already been commercially successful in the hope of gaining similar success. I don't happen to care for formula writing, and most people I know who love good writing disdain formula writing. I think you'll find most of the regulars on these forums disdain it as well.

    If you are a young writer, I would encourage you to work to develop your own voice. Study quality writing so that you will understand what makes it so good, then apply what you have learned to the characters you create and the stories you want to tell.

    Good luck.

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