Fuck the Rules (To an Extent) When It Comes To Writing

Please welcome guest author DC Stone to the Cafe!

Woman with question marksAny writer—no matter the genre—starts their career by surrounding themselves with other writers. There are a few different purposes for this, such as getting feedback, gather ways of the publishing world, and learning their craft.

New writers may struggle to find these other writers and/or settings because without the knowledge connection to their genre’s professional organization (and even in some cases with that connection), there’s not a vast population of individuals who chose this career path. That being said, sometimes the connections these aspiring writers make can end up being a great decision (most cases), or one that will follow them for years.

Nevertheless, any (friendly) seasoned writer will do everything they can to help aspiring ones. These are writers the aspiring authors need to stick close to, ask questions of, and eventually form close bonds.

There are also other writers out there (and a shit ton—yes, that’s my measuring tool for this—articles) who will preach and stress the need to follow every…single…rule there is in creative writing.

I’m here to tell you to fuck that plan.

As an editor and published author, I am asked about rules all the time. While there are many which are important (such as show and tell, head hopping, pacing, and plot paths), many of the others will do nothing more than completely confuse an aspiring author and kill their voice.

For those who may not understand the term “voice,” let me explain it quick. Voice is what makes one author stand out from all the others. It’s the individuality of an author outside of their story, and it’s a way readers learn to identify authors that stand out. For instance, if you had two manuscripts in front of you and were told one was Nora Roberts, and the other someone else, I’m sure many Nora Roberts fans would be able to identify her work with only a few sentences. That’s voice. It’s important. It’s you.

One door with a check mark, one door with an X.An aspiring author will have the starting to their voice no matter what. It may not be polished and may need to be dragged out of them with a little bit of editing, but it is there. However, when that new author starts to read all the writing advice, begins to listen to all the “this is the way or the highway” writers, and takes class after class, this voice can disappear like a keg at the year’s first frat party…in Arizona…during a heatwave…and after an eight-hour basketball game. You get the drift. It’s gone. This isn’t me guessing, this isn’t an opinion, it happens. I’ve seen it time and time again, and recently had to painfully watch as it happened to another author.

My advice? Fuck the rules…to an extent. Sit behind your computer (or pen!) and just write a good story. Don’t worry about all the extra drama, the rules, what someone else is doing for their writing career…just write. And write a good story! Who cares if you have five adverbs in three sentences. Who cares if you’re struggling with getting deep into the POV. Who cares if your tense is off. All you, as the writer, should care about is getting that story on paper and making it a good story. All the other stuff can be taken care of, and even in some rare cases, those mishaps will become part of the author’s voice.

While I’m at it, there’s one more piece of advice I’d like to give when it comes to rules: Don’t write for the industry. Write a story you’d love to read and I guarantee others will want to read it, too.

Challenge of the day: If you could pick any rule of writing to defend, which one would it be? Answer in the comments below, then get writing!

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Intimate Danger

Intimate Danger CoverWhen FBI agent Trent Rossi arrives to investigate a chain of crimes—devastating murders and violent rapes—an inexperienced small town Detective, Charlie, who’s assigned to assist, finds her desire surging for the agent—only to realize he is the primary suspect.

A sleeping threat has awakened in the small town of Nyack. Crimes in the cozy village, garner the attention of the FBI, who assign two agents to assist Charlie in tracking down the sick and deranged perpetrator. Agents Trent Rossi and Dillon Echols work closely with Charlie, but as the crimes progress, dark secrets begin to cloud the air, blurring the line between who is on the side of the law and who’s against it. Being Charlie’s first major case, she’s unprepared not only for the menacing killer on the loose, but also with the unexpected feelings Trent draws out of her.

While Trent holds secrets, disappears at random, and seems to understand their perpetrator all-too-well, Charlie’s suspicions grow along with the pull she feels toward him. Her attraction could become fatal, yet she does not realize it until it is too late.

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DC Stone HeadshotDC Stone has over sixteen years of investigative experience, working as a criminal investigator in the United States military. She currently works as an internal affairs investigator by day and a romantic suspense author by night. She has her Master’s degree in Criminal Justice and is lovingly dubbed, “The Investigative Whisper.” She provides numerous workshops that help authors gain insight into “digging” into a character’s mind to understand motives, creating suspense, and helping maintain conflict.

When she isn’t trying to solve a new puzzle in the world of fraud, she is engulfed with coffee, her laptop, and all those crazy characters in her head. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, New Jersey Romance Writers, RomVets, RWA Kiss of Death, and the Liberty State Fiction Writers. She served as the 2014 Vice President and Conference Chair for NJRW. Find her at the following stops: Facebook PAGE, Facebook PROFILE, Twitter, and her Website.




Fuck the Rules (To an Extent) When It Comes To Writing — 6 Comments

  1. I’m not sure it’s really a rule, but I’d defend “learn your grammar.” Even if the story’s good, misuse of lay and lie or its and it’s will take me right out of it!

  2. You said it! Just write the story. You can fix the head hopping, grammar, show and tell issues, all those things later. Just get the story out of your head and down on paper/computer.

  3. Finally – an intelligent bit of advice. Yes, I also have read WIPs where the authors voice is not there because she tried so hard to obey the rules. Best piece of advice for beginners – just write the story.

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