Yesterday I read a post on writing a great book…
You know those posts... The type that attempt to teach you all the things we learned in Comp-1 about punctuation and sentence structure, and then the dynamics of writing a story that we learned in Comp-2, where we read all the great works of literature throughout the ages. Yep, that stuff.
I’m sorry, but if you don’t know that you need to insert a comma before a direct address, no writing post on the World Wide Web is going to help you write a great book.
Of course the post also included all the other stuff that ‘professionals’ throw at aspiring writers:
Don’t use prologues
Don’t use adverbs
Never use a dialog tag other than ‘said’
Never use ‘asked’ as a dialog tag
Never use ‘had’ in non-dialog writing
Don’t sigh or huff your words
Never write in first person
Blah, blah, blah…
So, being the curious author that I am, I decided to download samples of the top ten books on Amazon and took the time to read the first chapter of each one.
Surprise—well, maybe not, or you wouldn’t have seen this post—almost every one of the authors broke at least one of those ‘rules’ stated above, and several of them, broke EVERY rule.
I'll be the first to admit that I'm still learning too! Top selling authors don’t have the time to write these posts, as they are too busy writing WHAT PEOPLE WANT TO READ! But I know this...all the writing suggestions in the world can't save a boring book.
My opinion, other than the normal 'grammar' rules that you learned in grade school, forget the supposed 'writing' rules and just write a great story!
I know some will disagree with me, but it’s true. None of the books on the bestseller lists are there because they didn’t use ‘hopefully’ in their prose; they are there because readers liked the story. If we all wrote the exact same way, with the exact same rules, what fun would that be? It wouldn't be fun at all. I like different types of storytelling. There's a reason we have an author's voice.
Long story short, all the rule following in the world won't sell more books. The only way you will sell MORE books is by writing a better story and writing more of them.
Then, just like the first snow, eventually a snowflake will stick, then another, then another, then another, until you have enough flakes sticking that you have a winter wonderland in your backyard.
Yes, you need to edit your books. Editing is not the point of this post. But, write a great story before you start worrying about all the other specifics.
Until next time, happy reading and writing!
Thank you for stopping by my place and reading my musings. Remember, these are just my opinions and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. If you have questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section, and I promise you I will answer. If you’re curious about what I write, please visit one of my author pages, where you can read all about my novels and short stories. And hey, I’ll even give you a free book just for stopping by.
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