At times, it helps to think of writing as carpentry. That way, writers and editors can work from a plan and use tools stored on their workbench. You can borrow a writing tool at any time. And here's a secret: Unlike hammers, chisels, and rakes, writing tools never have to be returned. They can be cleaned, sharpened, and passed on.
Over the course of a year, Roy Peter Clark presented 50 different writers' tools he has found useful. But he also made a point of uttering my pal Booksquare's mantra ("tools, not rules"):
These are tools and not rules. They work outside the realm of right and wrong, and inside the world of cause and effect. You will find many examples of good writing that seem to "violate" the general advice described here.
Gotcha, Mr. Clark. I was never all that big on "writing rules", myself.