Archive for the ‘rules’ Tag

Rules of Writing   Leave a comment

You hear a lot about how you should or should not write. More description, less description; passive voice, active voice; long word count, short word count-it seems like no matter where I look, I always find conflicting opinions. Everyone has their own “rules” which, if you follow, supposedly make the story better. I can say from experience that if you are looking to mutilate your story and give yourself a great deal of headache, go ahead and follow what everyone says. When I first got into writing, I naturally wanted to know what I needed to do to make the story perfect. So I surfed the internet, found a lot of do’s and don’ts, and tried applying it to my writing. After nearly driving myself bonkers, I had to abandon that approach and, in the process, learned something very important: you have to write like yourself. Now that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t want to improve your craft. Far from it. I’m always trying to improve my writing skills, but what I do not do is try to follow the supposed “rules” out there that many authors give. You have to realize that every story is different. Some stories can have a lot of description of the minute details and be done so good, it doesn’t bog the tale down, while others you need to be light with on going into too many details.

I like to think of a story as a piece of music, as liquid magic running through the soul. It’s not something that we can create at will. It comes from above and has already been composed. While we can tweak with it a little, we cannot force the story to be what it was not meant to be or make it go in a direction opposite of its purpose. I’ve seen many stories ruined because the author forced the story to adjust to what he or she thought it should be, and the end result sabotaged the story’s full potential. I did it, and I saw how bad it came out, whereas when I just let the story go where it wanted, the result was a beautiful, rich tale that began and ended with a contented smile on my lips.

If you have a story that needs to be told in this world, then go ahead and don’t hinder it. If it requires extra words, give it. If it needs a little less description, then go ahead and trim it. Don’t worry about not knowing what it will need or how you will know when to give it more description or less, active voice or passive, or simply which POV you should go with. If it’s a good story that you love, trust me, it will make itself known and you will just lose yourself in the flow of words like a musician does with the music he plays. Because it’s from the heart.

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