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Monday, June 27, 2011

The Rules

I would write in the third person. I decided this after reading countless posts and articles by Important People that said certain Rules worked the best and, well, writers who didn’t follow them were weenies.*

Not really. But you know what I’m talking about.

Third person it was. It didn’t matter that there are a ton of YA novels written in first. According to the Important People, most people screwed up the first person. I needed to write in third.

Only when I did, I couldn’t get into the story. It was as if my characters didn’t want me to get to know them. I yelled for them to pay attention to me since I WAS THE WRITER! Apparently characters don’t really care about that. Seriously, they hate being told what to do.

So one day, in a frustrated attempt to get inside my main character’s head, I opened a blank document and did a free write from her point of view. The words? They just poured out. And they kept pouring out until I reached the end.

Moral of the story? People who follow The Rules religiously—about outlining or not outlining, about deleting every single adverb, about starting a book with dialog or someone waking up—instead of following their story are the real weenies.**

Have you ever tried to follow a Rule but find doing so doesn’t make your story better?

Update: I just read this post from Scott Egan, and speaking of rule breaking...

*And now I’ve lived my dream of using that word online.
** Twice! Dreams do come true.

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