Thursday, July 28, 2005

Screw the rules

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that once an author is published, they don't seem to have to follow the rules? Having been told off by the Winchester Comp critiquer for having one long sentence (three lines), I've just read one that's at least six lines long in Jack Whyte's Clothar the Frank! His average is probably three lines, whereas mine's about one and a half.

The crit also exhorted me to: 'read everything you can lay your hands on, to work out how other people put their words together'. As if I hadn't tried to do this already! But reading Mr Whyte's book - he's hardly setting a good example now is he? I'm obviously just not reading the right books ;-)

But this is why I'm not going for any more crits until I have a complete first draft. This sort of stuff will stop me from writing any sentences whatsoever.

Then I pick up the Writers' Forum magazine, and it's headlined 'Screw the rules says top author'


Confused and Bemused of the UK


At 4:50 pm BST, Blogger Gabriele C. said...

Seems that critic is one of those academics who hasn't written anything himself. Like those old ladies who judge the ice skating competitions.

Forget him.

At 3:20 pm BST, Blogger Kate Allan said...

I think you have to learn the rules before you cabn learn when you can break them, if that makes sense. But I'm only recently published so still have a lot to learn myself but I can see situations when it's better to break a writing rule than stick to it in my writing. Possibly being published gives me more confidence in this quarter.

At 5:25 pm BST, Blogger Alex Bordessa said...

Kate, I think the rules are different depending on what the author is writing (crime, thriller, general genre, romance, etc.). There is also something here about style and voice - if it doesn't fit what the critiquer/editor/whatever is expecting (or looking for, perhaps), the boot will go in. Which is fair enough, but when someone's trying to find their way, it's all very confusing.


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