Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Rules



Look, a whole new year to play with. I suppose that brings with it certain inevitabilities, such as making lists of goals/things to do in the new year. I'm told that it can help lend a bit of shape to the writing year and give you a sense of progress, but I'd like to offer a cheery wave to those who don't really do it, because I like to think sometimes people get too caught up in the things you 'have' to do. I also think that sometimes, long lists can create an unnatural pressure on your writing. I've seen people saying that they're going to finish half a dozen novellas, three novels and a dozen short stories this year. Well I hope you do, but I also hope that you take as long as you need on the one in front of you to make it really wonderful to read.

One final thought, about beginnings and endings. It can be tricky, sometimes, picking where to start and end a piece. I sometimes suffer from long-ish starts, but it's another place where the writing advice seems to have morphed into rules about how you have to meet the MC in the first sentence, and you have to get to the inciting event straight off. Can this not be the year where we all decide to ignore the writing rules for a bit in favour of just writing well?

7 comments:

Julie Luek said...

I just read a blog where someone recommended a very structured goal-setting list. I left the comment that rigid structure just doesn't work for everyone. In fact, I think for some personalities it can backfire. You seem very motivated and production-oriented. I have no doubt this year will continue to bring you success.

Pauline Wiles said...

Firstly, thanks for the kind words about knowing the people criticizing your work. That hit a positive note for me.
No, I'm not setting big plans this year, mainly because I'll beat myself up if I don't achieve them! And I loved your point about taking as long as necessary over each piece, to make it the best it can be, rather than just churning work out.
Happy 2013!

Jamie Gibbs said...

Hear hear! 2013 is the year of writing without rules; just hit the keys and let it flow. I like it :)

Jamie Gibbs
IWSG co-host
Mithril Wisdom

Georgina Morales said...

I think that rules are good because they help structure things out. Having said that, I also think that knowing when and how to break the rules is an art that should be taught in every college. Just following the rules blindingly will never result in a heartfelt piece that will shatter everyone's world. The most remarkable things come out of those who venture outside the rules. So good luck to you in venturing outside the box. May 2013 be your year.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'm going to promote one book this year. Hope that doesn't overwhelm me!

Lynda R Young said...

Learn the rules first, then break them and revel in being a rebel!!
Happy New Year to you!

Raquel Byrnes said...

I'm loving your advice. I'll just...BE