Friday, 29 May 2009
The Rules of Writing
Have you ever noticed how much time and energy people waste on writers' boards debating the "rules" of what constitutes good/bad writing or more importantly acceptable/unacceptable to publishers?
As a wide-eyed newbie I soaked it all up like a sponge at first, but inevitably you reach a point where you're getting conflicting advice.
Here are a few I've heard along the way:
Adult fiction should be 80k words long.
Changing POV mid-chapter will get you rejected.
Using adverbs is a sign of sloppy writing.
On the word length question, I have it on very good authority - I'm talking editor at a major publishing house - that a story is as long as it needs to be. If they love your story they couldn't give a tinker's cuss for the word length. So, reading between the lines if you're rejected on the basis of word length it's just another way of saying your writing isn't up to scratch.
The fact is - and this has taken me a while to realise - there are no rules. If you tell a good story well, you can get away with just about anything. It's all in the writing, and don't let anyone tell you different.
As an illustration, here is another great blog from The Book Deal to prove my point.