Everything we do has rules, right? And writing has a PLETHORA of rules. Write what you know. Do your research. You must have an outline. Your characters must have depth. You must have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Don’t headhop. Don’t…don’t…do…do…
A writer could get lost in the rules. Hell, the rules can wrap your muse in tight bonds and drag them down in the deep dark abyss of rules, leaving the writer questioning every word they write.
I will never claim to be an expert on writing. I basically take the stories running around creating havoc in my head and put them to paper, hoping my readers will get lost in my weird worlds. Yet I was chatting with another writer friend of mine and came to a startling realization–the rules and I must part ways.
I do writer conferences to learn new things, things other authors have found successful, things that maybe I can mimic for my own success. But, I’ve had to admit, some rules just aren’t for me.
I’ve been making up stories forever, and I never once paid attention, consciously, to any writing rules. Not until I started putting things into print. At first, the rules helped keep me from dropping off into the deep end of the writing world. These basic rules helped me refine my stories, polishing them until they were presentable for readers.
Now, when I’m working on my sixth full length novel, I’ve realized the rules are starting to dull my muse. They’re luring me into a cookie cutter formula for writing, and that is a death knell for any writer. No writer worth their ink wants to become predictable. So what to do?
I’ve had to drown out the lingering voices of “do this, don’t do this” and replace it with “let the story tell itself” or “let your characters be free”, which is harder than it sounds. It’s easy to get lost in the clamor of what to do to be a great writer, just hang on to why you sat down in the first place, let your heart’s ink bleed on to paper, and tell your story….