Beyond the Blurb: On Critics and Criticism. Published by Cow Eye Press

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Amy Palko

It's kind of worrying to see these 'rules' for good writing laid out so starkly, isn't it. I'm always telling my students that being able to discern the rules to which a piece of literature adheres is not necessarily going to tell you all that much about it. It's at those points of departure from the rules where things get interesting. For example, Xiaolu Guo's A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers breaks the rule of choosing 'precisely the right word' to wonderful effect. Arundhati Roy's God of Small Things has no discernable beginning, middle or end. Irvine Welsh often writes in a way that disregards conventions of spelling, grammar and punctuation. I could go on.. Having such a narrow view of what makes a good book, automatically precludes any form of literary innovation. In a way, it's not just worrying. It's sad too.

Edward Williams

It's obviously a satire.

Brian Hadd

Showing writing to effect would have been helpful--as your post points out this advice is not only unhelpful but almost contradictory! Yet there are plausible tenets there I think.

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