writing rules

The power of rules is in knowing how to break them

I have this weird trait of being obsessed with a topic for a month or two. And it is a chain of obsessions. One always gives way to another. I guess I am not alone.

The last two months have been the turn for FALLACIES, LOGIC and ARGUMENTS. I have read three books so far on the topic. I have also watched tonnes of YouTube videos on the topic -mostly lectures that students and lecturers in universities around the world have recorded and uploaded.

As a result, I am finding myself analyzing every interview, debate or even TV commercial I see in terms of claims, arguments and fallacies. This experience has made me start seeing things I hardly noticed before, especially on how we share ideas as human things.

I have had a light bulb moment.  I realize that if I master all the fallacies and then avoid them in my arguments, I will never win a debate. In fact, I have noted that when a lawyer, politician, marketer or a writer avoids making fallacious arguments, they fail miserably. That is because as human beings we are more emotional than logical.

But learning about fallacies, logic and argument is critical to the work of a lawyer, politician, marketer and even a writer. It is critical because there is nothing as powerful as knowing how to consciously use fallacious arguments. Fallacies reach the heart faster than logic the mind. And the heart is more powerful than the mind.

This principle of knowing rules to break them applies very well in writing in other ways. You will come across such advice as ‘do not repeat the same word twice in a sentence or a paragraph.’ But you will notice that good writers do it all the time. Often to create rhythm or stress a point.

The power of the rules is in knowing how and when to break them. Know the rules then break them creatively.

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