Re: Writing and Rules

Jay Wootten (
Tue, 24 Oct 1995 08:51:01 -0500

As a digester, my reading this morning was all about teaching, and
writing, and rules. Like Steve, I wonder what set you off on this
one, Fred. Really--90%?

I don't know anyone teaching writing "by the rules," whatever they
are. And I'm interested in just which rules any one of us means. The
five-paragraph theme rules? Grammar rules? Old what'shisface's two-
triangles-and-a-box rules for organization? Usage rules?
Conventions like those governing citation and quotation and dialog?
My guess is that what we mean by "rules" is as varied as our

You know--I just remembered that some of my friends in journalism
teach news stories according to the inverted pyramid rule, and when I
was a practicing journalist, I wrote hard news according to that rule.
Does that make print news inauthentic?

When we rail against teaching writing according to rule, what is it
that we mean?

jay at Kent--Salem Campus