One of America’s more multitalented fictionalists (is that a word? Why not?), Sherman Alexie, contributed mightily to the sanity of many struggling writers the other day when he delivered the following tweet:
Grammar cops are rarely good writers. Imagination always disobeys.
You could argue that this attitude is just plain laziness, a disinclination on the part of frazzled scriveners already overburdened with dicta from various seminars (“Show, don’t tell,” and so on) who don’t want to be bothered with yet more rules impeding their creative flow. Clearly, there are many writers who scrupulously follow their Strunk & White and turn out some damn good books.
When it comes to writing, particularly fiction, rules are there for a reason: to guide to less-talented (or just less successful) of us through the mires of our own procrastination and indecision. But when you’re good enough, it all goes out the window. In other words, if you are going to disobey, disobey well.
GalleyCat has some of the better responses to Alexie here.