Years ago I reluctantly acquiesced to the reality that changing someone else’s writing “because you can” usually does not improve a manuscript. It simply gives you copy that sounds like what you would have written yourself—had you been asked.
Today, after close to 40 years of editorial toil, I welcome that lesson, wishing only that I had accepted it sooner. It informs everything I do in my work, of course, but its unexpected leakage into just about every part of my life has been an unexpected boon.
My hard-won, strong opinions about why humans created words, writing, and pictures, and how they utilize these tools to best effect are not chiseled in stone, however. Perhaps my overall stance on this subject is best summarized this way:
Follow the rules until they trip you up.
When they do, pursue alternative routes;
find those that communicate your stories best, then
perfect what you have learned, caring little who—or what—taught it.
Now you can become a writer.
I invite you to browse this site to see what you think, then let me know, too.