Thursday, April 15, 2010


I was on one of my writing sites--yalitchat, a great site by the way---and someone had a topic about Authors that break the rules. A topic I responded too and what I said I think is true, so I decided to paste it to my blog.

It's below!!

Below this!

Okay, below this!

Of course there are certain rules you do need to follow. Grammar, sentence structure and such. But those are the type of rules in everyday life. I am not talking about those type of rules.

On my first mss...I edited the heck (wanted to use another word here) trying to follow all the rules. You want to know what I ended up with. A dry novel. And I'm talking the Sahara Desert dry. I took out the spice...the interesting parts of scenery, characters, whatnot...all the parts that make a story. I edited out my voice.

So, I started to read books--adult and ya--(Well, I always read, but I mean really, really read) and studied them. How words were used, how sentences were structure, how many adverbs and adjectives were used, how they started, how they end, what the characters were doing (facial, movements, and such).

Every single book I read (everyone of them) broke these so called rules. I'm not sure where these rules stemmed from or who has the say in creating them, but I know for a fact --best selling authors and whatnot don't follow them.

Now here is the response where someone says---"Well, you're not J.K. Rowling or Stephenie Meyer or Stephen King or whoever." And that is true, I'm not, nor will I ever experience the success they were lucky and/or talented enough to achieve. But here is my response--"At one time neither were they."

They all started somewhere...and my guess is that somewhere was as a nobody.

So, what did they have. I'll tell you what they have. They have--in most cases--a great story to tell with a great voice. One that piqued the readers interest and kept them turning the pages. And ultimately, that is what we should all want to achieve.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, write what you want ( a great story), how you want (your voice). And I can almost promise you the finished product will be a wonderful book.

Now as to whether or not it will be published....That is another story.


  1. Amen to all of it! So much to think about, yet if we try to write bearing it all in mind, what comes out is total garbage.

    I feel like all I learn about Craft has to go into a "well," to be drawn from as needed, bucket by bucket. If I try to put everything I know and have learned into a piece, soon I lose all track of what it was I was trying to say in the first place.

    Best wishes!

  2. Revising my manuscript in order to follow the rules has made it better in many ways, but it has also changed my "voice." I'm big on sentence fragments. If I get rid of them, my voice is no longer my own. I'm still struggling to find the right balance.

  3. I never said nothing about not revising and editing. Those are important parts of the writing process and one needs to perform the painstaking process to bring out the essential voice of your manuscript.

    I will say this. The rules are there. Use them wisely. If it betters your manuscript...use them, but if it takes away from your voice, the essence...don't.

    After all, it is your story. Make it the best you can.

  4. Great blog. You hit the nail on the head. Following all of the rules all of the time is a fast track to a listless story. In writing my first book, I identified the rules and made the conscious decision as to which ones I would break from word one. I was very happy with how it turned out and so were my readers.

    Stephen King has always been one of my favorites. He has his own rules, but even he agrees that each person must follow their nose when it comes to writing.

    Be wary of anyone who criticizes without also offering any useful advice or help. Chances are they are jealous, bitter, or both.

    Best of luck to you!

  5. Oh, I love this one! I experienced the exact same thing as you - when I went back and applied all the rules, I hated my story. It was no longer mine and it was so dry. I couldn't connect with the characters, who are a combination of being like my children and an alter ego of myself. If I couldn't connect with them, how would the reader????

    And I love the quote about JKR, SM and SK not being them when they started. Perfect!

    BTW, thanks for participating in my giveaway.