As I said in my last post, I’ve read all the books. As well as endless articles on the internet, other blogs, and quotes. I have a passion for quotes. Again, I am grateful to read insightful books on the craft I love. Each and everyone has advice tucked away in its pages. Some of them list rules outright. Here’s a condensed list.
1. Write every day, even if you don’t feel like it.
2. Write in the same place at the same time every day.
3. Change your routine.
4. Read books in your genre.
5. Read books in other genres.
6. Give your characters imperfections.
7. Make your villains likeable.
8. Make your dialogue speak.
9. Show, don’t tell.
I could go on for pages.
Maybe you didn’t notice, but the rules are rather inconsistent. They are simply the point of view of the given author who is sharing sage advice about what works for them.
Living in society bounds us to rules and expectations. Like these…
1. Don’t murder at whim.
2. Hold a steady job and pay taxes.
3. Date, marry, and reproduce.
4. Drive a mini-van.
5. Don’t throw snowballs in the house.
6. Join the PTA.
7. Go to Church.
8. Don’t drink and Drive.
I propose that expectations and rules vary by region. These are generally for the small town in which I live. With expectation of #1 and #8, they tend to challenge my sense of rebellion, especially when hidden in subtle statements.
So, I’m not fond of rules. I tried to live by the rules once and it was a fantastic failure. I know I could thrive in a marriage, but not the house-on-the-hill-with-2.5-children-and-a-minivan type of marriage.
Sometimes, I get to make up rules based on what fits me best. Even in writing. The rules just don’t always fit. Take writing rule #1: Write every day. I think the books all agree with this one. But I didn’t write last night. Or for two nights before.
I’m not going to abuse myself for deviance from the rule. My brain just wasn’t there. Over the past ten years, I’ve spent enough time cursing and belittling myself over missed nights. I’ve forced myself to write when I wasn’t in the mood. Those pages always ended up on backspace row.
The rules were helpful in learning to establish a routine. But I’ve grown up now and I know myself. No self flagellation because I know that when my brain is there, I will make up for my absence with magic. Pages and pages of magic. The less I push, the easier it will come.
Maybe I’m just assuaging my guilty conscience. But during my break from the keyboard, I worked through the ending of “Dolly” and realized that changing the POV would help achieve the effect I desire.
Time to stretch my fingers. It’s going to be a long night…
It’s all about Point of View.