Sunday, May 29, 2011

Criminal Writer

Today's post was written by the lovely and talented Anastasia Pergakis. Visit her website to learn more about her fantasy series, The Kinir Elite Chronicles, and her blog, Labotomy of a Writer.

Yes, I am guilty. I break the “rules” or “laws” of writing all the time. I freely admit my guilt and will gladly pay for my crimes.

Writers, including myself, write great blog posts and articles about the “rules” of writing. Following the chosen genre, the trend of the market, society’s standards, etc. Today, I’m going to talk about how to not do that! Yes, I’m going to tell you how to be a criminal writer just like me!

Okay okay, first let me say that I do believe that “rules” are important. They serve a purpose and allow writers and readers to categorize books in an orderly fashion so they can find them. I get that. I also know that “rules” allow certain standards to be placed on the publishing world in order to uphold the integrity of the writer, the publisher, and anyone else involved with the book.

Are you ready for what I’m about to say? You may want to sit down.


Yes, I said it. Bear with me here. I promise it’ll all make sense when this post is finished.

So, when you sit down to write your stories, ask yourself this question: What type of story do you want to right? YOU, as in you the writer, you the person, you the creative one. Not you the editor or marketing consultant.

Why ask this? Well it will help you write the story the way you want, the way the characters want. Yes, trends and following the market is important. But, I’m a firm believer that if you force it to fit the market, your story – while good – won’t be great. So, allow yourself to write a great story – and hang the rules!

Once the story is written – with all the passion you can muster because you didn’t constrict yourself with rules – THEN think about where it fits.

The editing stage of writing is where you can apply all those grammar rules and general plot rules that apply to every story (like ending chapters with cliff hangers or beginning the story and chapters with a bang sort of rules).

Once the editing is done and you begin the query and synopsis writing process is where you figure out where it fits in the market. With fantasy as an example would your story be a  High Fantasy or is it more Fantasy Adventure? Or say for many Urban Fantasy writers, is it more Paranormal Romance maybe? Could you market it as more than one to publishers and agents so you have a bigger playing field?

Do you see how writing first then figuring out the market might actually help you in the long run? Just let the story flow and worry about the technical stuff later! Have fun with the story and your characters. Laugh out loud at the crazy stuff that happens and cry when the sad stuff comes on the page. Later, is the time to edit and tone down or amp up and make it really great – not just good, but great!

I leave with a great quote someone once told me – “If it’s not fun, it’s not worth doing.” So, go have fun and don’t worry about the “rules”. Let the story flow from you naturally then mold it later.

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