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A Writer's First Rules

  • Saturday, November 30, 2013
  • Andrea
  • Goooodness. I decided on a whim to crack open a book and enjoy a bit of reading. I needed a break from writing to focus on something else for a while. I typically have a very strict 'do not read while writing' rule. I don't want to allow anything else to distract me from where I am with my own story.

    When I pick up a book I become immediately wrapped up in it, so much so that I literally tune out the entire world and focus on engulfing the book. If it's a really good book I won't answer my phone, I become non-existent online, and you're lucky to get me to take a break long enough to make food. Now that I think about it, it's a really great dieting idea. ;)

    On Thanksgiving, I opened said book and, since a new one had just come out, I caught up on the previous two. Ok, folks. If you're an author or enjoy writing even the tiniest bit then this part is for you. Here is my number one rule: Don't make your readers mad. If you, even once, break this rule without having an exceptionally awesome reason for it and an even better idea to pull your readers back into being infatuated with your story then you've completely botched your writing career. From that point, the point that your reader hates you, they won't read anything else you've written because you've lost their trust. Then it's pretty much game over.

    When I'm writing, I try really hard to remember what I want out of an author or out of a book that I read. Would I like a happy ending where everything is pink rainbows and butterflies? Yeah, I would. I'm a sappy, hopeless romantic when it comes to 'happily-ever-afters'. I want the main guy to be the protector of the main girl and I want both of them to overcome whatever it is that is keeping them apart, conquer the world, and be insanely happy at the end of the book. Is that really too much to ask? Yes, it is.

    Let's face it: life isn't always pretty. Life will throw curve balls at you, people will die- people you have come to depend on and love deeply, things will never go quite the way you had planned that they would, and even though each and every one of us want that 'perfect ending' every day, we need to face that it won't always happen. This is my favorite part though. Life causes us to grow. Life is what shapes us into the people we are and the people we are going to be. Those trials that we all hate are the ones we look back on later in life and say, "I really hate that it had to happen like that ... but if it hadn't happened then I wouldn't be the person that I am now."

    Sooo ... When I'm writing, I try to remember that. I know that life can suck, but I also know that it can be absolutely beautiful. I try to add a splash of realism with a heavy dose of "It'll all work out so let's all just be freakin' happy." I also try to remember that, if I don't like it when an author kills off a beloved main character then brings the character miraculously back in the next book then makes the character a horribly nasty person then takes the character back to the amazingly good person he originally was, then I don't want to write like that. I don't want to force my readers to sit through it if I'm not willing to sit through it. If your reader is skimming and flipping the pages wondering when the author is going to get to the point and stop dumping on the characters, buckle up. The book should be so good that you can't miss even a word.

    The writer's first rules should be the following, 1) Don't make your reader mad. 2) Keep the main thing the main thing. If you have a goal for the book, tattoo it on your arm (or something possibly not so permanent) so that you never forget, through all the side stories, where you are heading. Don't lose sight of your focus or ever make your readers wonder 'What was the point of this again?" 3) Develop your characters. Don't leave them to be the same whiny brat they were when the book started for three entire books before you decide to make them grow up. That leads back to rule #1.



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