A quick word from J. A.–
Esteemed Author J. L. Phillips WON the opportunity to blog here, at Scribbles on Cocktail Napkins, as the winner of our very FIRST Sunday Scribble Challenge. It’s a great pleasure to share this inspiring post about writing “rules” with you! Did you know YOU can win the chance to guest post too? Just click #SSC on the toolbar above to check out the prompt for this week’s challenge. Participation is quick and easy, and a great way to
procrastinate interact with your writing peers.
These flash fiction challenges fuel creativity! They’re also a relatively painless pool for writers who’ve never posted their work to wet those feet, OR for established authors/bloggers to pick up a few new readers.
What are YOU waiting for? This week’s challenge wraps up Saturday. Unleash your writerly self.
My Thoughts on Writing
You notice my title says, ‘My thoughts’, not advice, as I have none. These are just some thoughts that I had swirling in my head as I finished my edits on A Case of Deceit last year.
When I first starting seriously writing my first book, The Canine Caper and getting it ready to publish I made the mistake of reading all the posts I could find on how to write. It really was a mistake, as it scared the crap out of me! It not only scared me, it made me doubt I could write, it made me question if I should write. It also confused the hell out of me.
There was/is so much conflicting advice out there by so-called “experts”. There was advice from authors, publishers, agents, all sorts of people. There was advice from people who only wrote books on how to write. They never wrote an actual novel, or memoir, or autobiography. Just books on how to write…books. You can see why I was so confused.
An expert by definition is;
a person who has a comprehensive and authoritative knowledge of or skill in a particular area.
“experts in child development”
synonyms: specialist, authority, pundit; More
having or involving authoritative knowledge.
“he had received expert academic advice”
synonyms: skillful, skilled, adept, accomplished, talented, fine;
One day in the future I hope to become an expert on writing books. Because I would have lots of books that I have actually written and sold, and not just because I want to give out advice.
I’ve written over seven hundred posts on my blog, To Write is to Breath. That might make me an expert on blog posts, but not necessarily writing. Just because you have done a lot of something doesn’t mean you’ve done it well, or right. Then that puts another question out there…what IS the right way to write a book? Or is there even a right and wrong way? I mean, what’s right for one author may not be a suitable fit for another.
I have my own way of writing books. Another author has their way…etc. I don’t think you will find two people who write books the same exact way. There are going to be differences. It just makes sense as no two people are exactly alike. But does that make one person wrong and the other right? No, of course not. They do what works for them, just as I do.
Now I understand that there are certain rules for grammar, spelling, sentence structure and so forth. That to me is totally different from writing a story. A story is made up of sentences, paragraphs, and chapters. There must be some structure guidelines for doing that or it would just be chaos and make no sense whatsoever. I get that part.
It’s the story itself that I’m talking about. The story as a whole. I know that a story should have a beginning, middle and an end. A book should have an interesting beginning, a middle that has some kind of conflict, an end that resolves that conflict to the readers satisfaction. I get that, as I was a reader long before I was a writer.
I have read numerous articles on how to write books that drum that into you. Ok, I get it. They also stress on HOW to do it. You should do A, B, C….the problem is I don’t always do it that way. Sometimes I do C, B, A, instead. But, it works for me. These articles made me doubt that I should even be trying to write and that’s sad. There are so many good writers out there that truly have talent and read these rules and get scared off.
I’ve always been a rule breaker. I like to break rules. It makes life interesting. Some people give up before they even try because the rules scare them so much.
Why are there so many rules for writing? Who makes up these rules? Where did they first show up? And why do some people think they are set in stone and find fault in others that don’t follow the rules?
My friend Maddie Cochere, after I wrote her and told her I was scared to write anymore because of all these rules I was reading about, told me to stop reading the articles! She was quite firm in that directive too. She was also right. So I stopped. She encouraged me to just keep writing. So I did. I finished two books and have a third in the works. Maddie is one smart woman. I stopped reading those articles and never read another one.
So, maybe I do have one piece of advice for anyone who wants to write a book….
Just sit your butt down and do it!
And don’t read about all the rules….
You can find my books on Amazon under JL Phillips: