Everything in life has rules.
Never stand while the vehicle is in motion. Do not tear the tags off a mattress. In San Francisco you’re not allowed to pile horse manure more than six feet high on a street corner. (I guess five feet is okay, though?)
Rules, rules, and more rules.
Obviously most rules are in place to keep us safe. Running with scissors really is a bad idea—especially for a klutz like me. Some though… Some are meant to be broken.
Writing, in my opinion, is about doing what works for you. Has someone told you how you do things is against the rules? I say screw their rules. The human mind is a pretty epic thing. Like snowflakes, no two minds are exactly the same. Something that works well for one person isn’t necessarily going to work for another.
I’m an organic writer. I don’t plot or outline. I don’t think too much before I start to write. I sit down in front of the keyboard and typetypetype. I guess you could say I don’t control my ideas—they control me. I remember when I first started out. I joined a critique group—my very first. I was new to writing. At least, writing with professional aspirations. I didn’t really fit with that first group, but something they said to me will always stick with me.
They said if I had any hope of making writing a career, I needed to follow rules. Outlines and plots. Planning in excruciating detail. There’s no way you can organize an entire book without it, they told me.
I’ve never been a stickler for rules. But, I guess that’s a good thing. If I was, I probably wouldn’t have written Touch. Or, anything for that matter. The thing is, sometimes it’s okay to start your sentences with but or and. Sometimes it’s all right to do a little telling. Got a character that talks in clichés? If it fits his or her personality—then why not? It’s all about doing what works for you. It’s all about creating your own rules.
How many times have you gotten an awesome idea only to be told you shouldn’t pursue it? It’s too taboo, or not what the market is looking for. Screw that, and here’s why… Because you’re you. Who’s to say you won’t take that idea and put your own unique spin on it? If you’ve got a gut feeling, go for it. If you’re passionate about it, see it through. Look at it this way. Some of today’s bestselling books started life as highly criticized fanfic…
So, to summarize an extremely long, and sort of random ramble, screw their rules. Make your own. Everyone’s different. Embrace it!