Intuitive: based on what one feels to be true without conscious reasoning; instinctive
More and more often lately I see writers being given lists of rules about how to write: ‘write what you know’, ‘don’t write what you know, make it up’, ‘write what you know means this’, ‘no, it means that’, ‘if you want publishers to take you seriously don’t write portal fantasy’, ‘stick to one or a few central characters’, ‘have a wide range of POVs’, ‘break the rules, it’s okay’, ‘follow the rules or your writing will be rubbish’. It’s easy to get so caught up in trying to decide what rules you’re supposed to follow that your writing loses the unique flavor that is you.
Rule: an explicit or understood regulation governing conduct within a particular activity.
Principle: a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a behavior or chain of reasoning.
The thing about writing fiction is that most of us started doing it because our overfull imaginations could no longer be contained and spilled forth into stories. Rules don’t apply to imaginations but the writing that results from them does have to conform to certain principles if it’s going to be worth reading. Good writing principles are the same across every genre and type of story. [Note: I am not referring to grammar and punctuation here- those should be and are governed by strict rules.]
The premise of this site is to guide you through principles of good writing until they become instinctive for you. I’ll bring you articles on a wide range of writing topics including:
- Plotting and character development and arcs.
- Genre boundaries and how to figure out in which genre your book belongs.
- Grammar and the correct usage of English.
- Great authors of past and present: examining what makes their work great and why it stands the test of time.
- Badly written books and what we can learn from them.
- Which writing rules are okay to break and which ones you really shouldn’t; as well as which ones aren’t so much rules as they are principles.
Just what precisely qualifies you to teach us? some of you are asking. I don’t know that anyone is ever fully qualified to teach anything. All good teachers will acknowledge that they themselves are still learning, but what ‘qualifies’ them to teach is the fact that they know enough about the subject to assist other people in learning about it. I’ve been a writer for years and much of what I’m going to guide you through I learned via trial and error: blood, sweat, and tears; days of not knowing what I was doing; days where I was barely restrained from throwing everything in the trash.
My goal is to help you so that you won’t make the same mistakes I did and together we can continue to turn out increasingly better quality work. It’s my privilege and honor to pass these lessons along to you and I hope you enjoy the learning as much as I enjoy the teaching.
Thank you for joining me and Merry Writing!