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Is there a "normal" structure when writing, or can it just be a well-written, great story?

I read a lot! 

I know, I know, I’ve said that before… I also read a lot of reviews, as I’m always curious what readers want, what they are looking for in a great book.

But can I just saythe last review I read shocked me. The review was by an Indie author, reviewing another Indie author, none the less. She loved the book, said she couldn’t put it down, read the novel in one day, gave it four stars (which is great), but then went on to say how the book didn’t fall under the 'normal' structure, and if it had, she would have given it five stars. (Not that four stars isn't a great is! I'm just wondering why anyone would tell an author how to write their book.)

I’ve been fighting this for years, stating that other than writing  well, why does there have to be a 'normal' structure? 

Where is this rule written? 

Should the same rule apply to building a house, writing a musical piece, creating a work of art? Of course not! Variety, creativity, and different, are usually what get noticed.

If the writing is sound, let the story stand on its own, I say. If you enjoyed the story, say so. You don’t have to give a play-by-play synopsis or grade it as though it were a college thesis. Just tell the other prospective readers if you liked the book, and then let them decide. 

Personally, I just want to read a great story. I don’t really care how the author gets me to the end, as long as I’m happy when I get there. Just sayin’! J

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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  1. The beauty of being an Indie Author is having the ability to break those unwritten rules of how your story should be formatted, and by formatting I mean when should certain events take place? In the middle? In the end? I bring this up because during my query submissions, I ran into an agent who read the entire MS, loved it, but felt that in order to submit it, I needed two different versions. One that met the 'rules' of traditional romance, which meant the drama that needed to happen in the middle in order to make carry the story to the end, needed to happen at the end, thus shortening my book. The other was to leave it as it is and hope a large publisher would take my Women's Fiction story and give a new, no name author a chance. To say the least, I didn't go her route, signed with an Indie Publisher who was willing to except my 'broken rule' style of writing, and am now an Amazon Bestselling Author, proof that breaking the 'unknown rule' of writing can be a good thing. A fresh new voice with a different writing style that breaks the norm are the ingredients to satisfying readers who are tired of the same old styles of writing. Just sayin'.... :)

  2. I agree with M.J. and you. When I read a book, I'm reading it for the story, and the escape. I'm not checking the format??? I'm glad that M.J. went with her instincts

    1. I see reviewers do it in all novels, especially by other authors. I think they want to show their intelligence, but I think it makes them look snotty. Books aren't written for readers to grade, but to enjoy. Honestly, if the author writes well, without a lot of errors to weigh me down, I couldn't care less how they get me through the story. If they keep me entertained, and I want to finish the novel, I'm all in! Some of the best novels out there have broken the mold, as with music and movies. We crave different! If everything was the same, what fun would that be? :)

  3. I love this post! Maybe because I was just thinking (and blogging) about the same thing: It infuriates me when people try to dictate the "right" or "only" way to construct a story.

    1. Thank you, Joshua, and sorry I missed this comment. Blogger typically emails me, so I must have had a lot of emails that day. I will try to read your post today. Cheers!

  4. I don't think there's such a thing as a "normal" structure, or a "right" way to construct a story. Different is interesting, and interesting is good. But I do have issues when an author (ANY author) uses a structure that leaves me confused and unable to follow the story. If I have to break out pen and paper to map your novel just so I can figure out what's going on, you're doing something wrong. Writing is hard work, but reading shouldn't be...

    1. Ahhh...great point! And I agree. I do have a 'back in time' situation, which most readers said was easy to follow, but a few didn't like it. So, I hope it was just that they didn't like it and not that it was confusing. Thank you for your great comment; I will try to adhere to that. :)


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