You know the rules I'm talking about: Start the book with a hook, make your characters likeable, cut back the walls of descriptions, don't load down the story with backstory dumps, show don't tell. And so forth.
All these rules can be crippling. Yes, there are things that work best in a novel, but should we always stick to the rules because we're afraid to veer off the righteous path of thou shalt nots? Should we quash our writing style in the quest for publication?
There's a lot of pressure on new writers to catch the eye of agents and publishers. If we can't follow the rules then how will our books be any good? The rules are there for a reason--because they work.
And yet I think the best writers break the rules--but I will add they do it with caution. They find a way that works for their stories. They hold onto their personal style and create the story only they can write. These are the writers that stand out. For example, China Miéville writes copious amounts of meandering description and yet his work is a delight to read. Suzanne Collins wrote wads of backstory and yet it worked in the Hunger Games.
I'm not suggesting to ignore the rules. I am saying be true to yourself and your stories. Writing is an art. And the best art requires bravery, honesty, and hard work.
Do you agree? Can you think of other favourite novels that broke the rules?
Note: On Monday I have to head to the Supreme Court for jury duty. I'm told if I'm picked it could take up to three weeks. I won't have time to post during that time, but I'll try and pop around the blogsphere a little.
Call for help: I'm looking for some critiques for a science fiction short story I've written. It would be best if you like and understand the genre. I'm happy to return the favour in any genre for the equal number of words (3300). If you are interested please send me an email or leave a comment. A huge thanks in advance.
M Pax of Wistful Nebulae has released her debut novella, Semper Audacia, this week, available from Amazon or Smashswords. Check it out.
Thank you to The Writing Nut for the Seriously Cute Blogger Award. It's not one I've received before. It's much appreciated.