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To start the off this thread I would like to share an essay on the "rules" of writing by Adam Haslett:
I am sharing this essay because it does a good job of illustrating the evolution of both the teaching of written skills and the art of writing as they progressed throughout the 20th century.
In a nutshell, the bluntness and straightforward nature as encouraged by the college elite grew into an earthy saturation of prose, in which proper use of language was only defined by the rhythmic cadence of emotionally elucidated sentences.
That's me trying to take an aprox. 1200 word essay on modern writing style and distill it into a single sentence. Personally, I recommend you read the article (http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/8c60799c-24e2-11e0-895d-00144feab49a.html...), because it does have a number of very good examples that break down modern prose and illuminate a number of writing styles.
A Best Practice for any writer, but especially for any fiction writer, is to read Stephen King's On Writing.
In this non-fiction book, King autobiographically charts his rise as an author while also documenting his own writing best practices.
I recommend it in this context not just for King's list of writing do's and don'ts, but also for how it can impact your own perspective on writing, and help you to grow as an author.
King does a good job of illustrating the difference between good writing, and from his perspective, bad writing.
I think that this book can help any author, further develop, and mature, their narrative voice.
For those times when you get writers block, have trouble getting in the flow, or are struggling to document a particular concept or narrative, SPAN member Wolf Hoelscher, shares with us his blog post 7 Tips for Getting Back Into the Habit of Writing, which offers great advice for those looking to stimulate their writing process.
When I started editing a literary magazine (Rockbottom) in the 1970s, I didn't set any criteria on what to write or how to write. In my evolution as an editor, confronted with a great variety of approaches (see my anthology First Person Intense, for example) — I came to this single criterion: What is the author aiming to do/say; and, are they doing it well?
It might be argumentative, emotional, spell-binding, tentative, dreamlike, political, poetic, or experimental — did they do it well. My second consideration as an editor was, Do I care? Do my readers care?
You might call my approach primitive, as it says nothing about grammar or clarity or continuity. In my opinion, those are all tools in the writer's toolbox. Clear prose is ideal for understanding — but what if you want to create wonder or suspense, for example. What if ambiguity is your point?
So, "writing best practices" — hmm. As advice for the writer, I'd say, Do your best. Try more than one approach. Write, then read, read until you can tell good prose from bad.
For me, good writing comes down to one thing: trust. Do I trust this writer? Does this writer know what he/she is talking about, or just making stuff up. I'm sensitive to that, because that's what I thought writing was all about: making stuff up. No, that's cheating. It doesn't matter how clever you are, if what you write is not grounded, it's worse than worthless. IMHO.