Peter Welch has published an excellent piece on punctuation and writing style in the English language.

Yes, you can use punctuation in incorrect ways, but that does not mean there is only one way to use it. A friend recently told me publishers don’t care whether you use an oxford comma or not, as long as you pick one and stick with it. This is stupid. If punctuation obscures or distorts the meaning of a sentence in an unintended way, it is wrong, but apart from that, punctuation is about rhythm. An Oxford comma is not a flip switch in an author’s voice, it’s a decision made in the moment to maintain the flow of the idea. Momentum, syncopation, rhythm and pattern make a sentence flow, because writers are trying to transfer the voices in their heads into yours.

I own a copy of The Elements of Style which is one of the most prescriptive books around regarding what “good writing” is. Though Welch’s essay has a nearly opposite message, urging writers to do what they must at the expense of constrictive rules, I love both for describing excellent writing and leading by example.

I do believe that there can be a single guiding principle for good writing. At their core, the two contrasting works in fact have the same core message: be deliberate.