My first manuscript that I completed is drier than the Sonora Desert. It actually started better than how it ended up. I wrote my voice completely out of it by following rules that other writers were nice of enough to share with me. You know the ones:
Use action verbs
Use strong nouns
Cut to the chase; don’t blab on and on about scenery and other minor details such as that. Readers today don’t have the patience.
Don’t use dialogue tags.
Adverbs and adjectives weaken writing.
And so on and so on.
You have all heard these. And I did as they said. To a T. I went through my mss with a fine tooth comb. And what did I end up with….a story that had potential with an interesting plot, but was lacking on everything else.
So, what did I do wrong? Everything. I took the rules too seriously. And that is not what they are meant for.
I am an avid reader. Always have been, always will be. But something clicked inside my head, and although I still read for pleasure, I really started to break down how writers were writing. What did they do?
I read book after book after book. And I noticed that none of these authors wrote according to the rules. Maybe they followed them somewhat, but rules that I learned were broken left and right. They used adverbs and adjectives, they used being verbs, they used dialogue tags (some almost every sentence). They did all these things.
And that is when I realized that the rules might be there, but they are definitely meant for breaking. You should keep the rules in mind, but remember that you are telling a story, and the story should flow naturally.
That is what those great authors did. They told their stories naturally with their voice.