Thursday, December 9, 2010

Your first rule for writing - there are no rules

Hello faithful readers (and writers). I thought I'd get the ball rolling with some writing advice that I think every writer should know before they read any other writing advice. This is one of my most important writing tips - there is NOT one proper way to write. Yes, it does help to follow all the usual rules of grammar about verbs and nouns and adjectives and sentence structure and all the usual rules of punctuation about fullstops and commas etc...but otherwise you should just follow those bits of advice that work best for you and DON'T WORRY about the rest.

The following article about this very topic was written by the very experienced writer Nicola Morgan and appeared on her blog which is full of great advice, inspiration and other sensible stuff that will most likely help you enormously.

There are no rules for writing – just results

You want to know how to write? Well, I cannot tell you. Yes, I have written more than half a million words on this blog; yes, I've had a large number of books published; and yes, I am writing a book called Write To be Published. And yes, aspiring writers ask me and other writers things such as, do you plan? Do you talk to your characters? Do you outline? Keep spreadsheets of characters? Know the end before you get there? Use Moleskine notebooks? Talk to yourself? Drink lots of coffee? And I have answers to these questions but the answers and the questions are entirely irrelevant to you.

Entirely. Irrelevant. To. You. And. To. Everyone. Except. Me.

This is because how a writer writes is entirely irrelevant to anyone but the writer.
All that matters is the result: what you write
, what the words sound like when you've written them, what readers think of them, whether they work.

The method, the route you take, matters zilchly
. No one cares whether you plan or whether you fly by the seat of your pants. No one cares whether you interviewed your characters or spent the night dreaming of them. Well, OK, they might care, but only out of weird reader interest. If you are asking these questions in order to find out how to write yourself, you are barking up the wrong tree.

Please. Just write your book in whatever way works for you, even if that means hanging from a chandelier naked. It will be judged only on the result. Don't get hung up on method, or at least on other people's methods. You will find what works for you and that's all that matters.

Fair enough; sometimes another writer's method is worth trying, to see if it might work better for you than the one you use, and for that reason the questions are not entirely pointless. But only as long as you
never get hung up on the answers, and never worry if you are doing it differently from others

Just write, eh?

When you look gorgeous, I do not need to know how you got dressed.

Merry christmas and happy holidays everyone - take care and see you next year - Melinda