Readings about FYW

6 Good Writers Always Follow My Rules

Monique Dufour and Jennifer Ahern-Dodson

Monique Dufour and Jennifer Ahern-Dodson’s essay, “Good Writers Always Follow My Rules,” is from the text Bad Ideas About Writing. This essay, like the whole book, dispels myths about writing. They address how “rules” about writing are really rhetorical techniques that are applicable in some situations but not others. In their conclusion, they remind us that they “are not suggesting that there are no rules and that rules don’t matter.” Instead, Dufour and Ahern-Dodson want us to remember that developing writing skills is dependent on awareness of the situation in which writing takes place.

Read Monique Dufour and Jennifer Ahern-Dodson’s “Good Writers Always Follow My Rules.” 

Listen to Kyle Stedman’s audio version of this text.


Keywords from this chapter in Bad Ideas about Writing

good/effective writing, prescriptive writing, style, writer’s block, writing process


Author Bios from Bad Ideas about Writing

Jennifer Ahern-Dodson teaches writing at Duke University, where she  consults with faculty across the disciplines on ways to employ and assess writing in their own courses. She studies the relationship between writing and teaching and has been working with student, community, and faculty writers for more than 20 years. She is @jaherndodson on Twitter.

Monique Dufour is an assistant collegiate professor in the history department at Virginia Tech, where she teaches the history of medicine, the history of books and reading, and writing. She also directs the Medicine and Society minor. Before completing her PhD in science and technology studies, she was a faculty development consultant at Virginia Tech’s Center for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. As a writer and cultural historian, she investigates scenes of encounter among medicine, science, and the humanities from the 20th century to the present. Her book manuscript, The Embodied Reader, is a history of bibliotherapy, the use and study of reading as a form of medical treatment and a path to health.



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The Ask: A More Beautiful Question Copyright © 2021 by Monique Dufour and Jennifer Ahern-Dodson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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