Writing Rules: Do They Trump Your Gut?
In a recent book concept consultation, a new client shared her new writing rules: she’d read that all books should have “three acts” no matter whether the book is self-help, memoir or a novel.
Writing Rules are Guidelines
Writing Rules should serve a purpose. They should help you write a book that resonates for your readers and makes a positive impact on their lives.
Writing Rules are not immutable laws. There are exceptions to every rule—often many.
Some of the most successful books break the rules. Who would have thought that a chapter of PowerPoint slides would work in a novel? Yet, A Visit from the Goon Squad won a Pulitzer Prize.
Take risks on the page. Some will work and some will not. A strong editor and honest beta readers will give you the feedback you need.
And ultimately, you’ll need to trust your own inner guidance as well.
Can You Read While Your Write?
I also wondered about all the writing books this author continued to read—and the novels and self-help books, too. Was it working for her? Or could some of the stuckness she mentioned be traced back to “over-reading?”