There are few times in the year when I'm not up to my eyeballs in work. It's usually refreshing for a day or two, then it becomes unnerving. I'm currently doing everything I can to hold off working on book 2 until the first of the new year so I can take full advantage of this OFF time. (I consider myself an obsessive binge writer...) So, I've been running around like a crazy woman with the release of DESCENDANT (which is going excellent by the way!), school closures for snow, my son's 13th birthday, last minute shopping, family traditions....
But let's get back to writing. While I do listen to a lot of audio books throughout the year, I tend not to read for pleasure while I'm writing or editing (lest I absorb someone else's style and lose track of my own). That said, being between projects, I have finally been able to read a few books for sheer entertainment! And you know what? I am reminded of a very important thing: THE WRITING RULES ARE NOT BEING FOLLOWED.
I know we all know this to some degree, but what rules/pet-peeves have you taken to heart strictly because they came from someone you respected ten years ago? Or because how-to books make it seem as though breaking rules is unprofessional and raises a "newbie flag" in the world of publication? (Please don't think I'm condoning first-draft writing as publishable.)
Head hopping used to drive me nuts. I'm starting to believe it's ONLY because I've always been called out on the slightest shift and it's annoying to see 'this' or 'that' book get away with it. But...I'm not a stupid reader and I can follow simultaneous PoVs without any trouble whatsoever. In fact, I'm starting to like it! I'm not saying everyone should do it, but if it makes for a stronger story and you can do it without being sloppy, go for it! Who am I to say you can't when so many published authors do it quite successfully?
I've always believed that writers are harder to please than readers—because writers KNOW what rules you're bending to suit a need. Most readers just want a great story and don't care how it happens.
So one of my writing resolutions for 2014 will be to trust my own judgment when it comes to rules, and to remember that the most captivating stories are not the best because they've been conformed, whittled, and slashed to fit into a suitable marketing box, but because they dare to have a life of their own with a certain magical spark of passion and creativity.
I leave you with this bit of editing (below)—as I found it both funny and sad. I wonder how many remarkable stories have been slaughtered in the editing process.