I hope everyone enjoyed a good holiday, and your worries are few. I’m hoping this year will be better than last.
So, I’ve been reading over the holidays. And not in the genre I write in, simply because I need to think about it, mull things over, since the next book in the Gemini Deiux Series is not going according to the original plan. My characters got a little cranky with me for trying to follow the status quo and rebelled.
So, here I am, a whole year later than when I began, and the storyline is flowing- thankfully. I paused somewhere in the middle and wrote the backstory, because it bugged me to just have notes and such. I needed to see it, hear it, taste it, smell it- be in the moment- if you know what I mean.
I’ve been mulling over a few things in the last few months, which is probably why it is taking me longer to write the next book. The story is there, don’t get me wrong. What has been bugging me is the grammar rules.
- Don’t use that unless it’s necessary.
- Change was going, doing, sitting- any verb phrase with was to a more concrete verb. If you can, remove was completely from the sentence.
- Don’t begin chapter one with a line of dialogue.
- don’t begin chapter one with a dream.
- If you have mulitple MCs, begin each chapter with their name.
- Keep your tense consistent.
- don’t mix 3rd person limited with 3rd person omniscient.
- don’t suddenly switch from 1st person to second.
- don’t have your character stand in front of a mirror and describe themselves.
- if you have multiple MCs give them a new chapter. Do not have 2 POVs in the same chapter.(and definitel not in the same paragraph)
These are just a few, and I’m sure there are more. There are ALWAYS more rules. The truth is, I’m reading traditionally published books. Best Sellers. Books that come from authors with agents and editors and a well-known publishing house.
And guess what?
They break ALMOST EVERY RULE.
It’s devastating, tedious, mind-boggling, and irritating, as an indie author. For me at least.
I scrutinize every sentence. I edit each chapter several times before my editors see it, now.
I wrote the Menagerie Series without the headache of the some of the rules above. I read often and followed the pattern set for me by traditionally published authors, and authors writing the latest books for the time.
Then I found myself on wattpad- at the recommendation of a publishing house after submitting one of my manuscripts.
The story is good, your writing is great.
You have a way with words.
I love your descriptions.
Build an audience on an online writing site and come back.
The recommended site? Wattpad.
I’ve met some awesome writers there, don’t get me wrong. I’ve learned a lot of things.
Problem is, there is a huge gap between what a reader wants from a story, and what a writer THINKS the reader wants.
I wrote several stories, continued with my series, explained things- over and over- for the readers there. Readers who only read there. Writers who only write there and have stopped reading traditionally published books.
I took down several of my stories over the comments. I pared down my descriptions. I wrote tighter sentences. I lost my drive trying to be perfect.
I almost gave up on Wishin On Fire over those comments- they tore me to shreds.
But, then it hit me.
I don’t belong there. It is not a place to build an audience. I tried.
My series is about a family, with life struggles that interfere with their jobs to keep the world turning. They have fights, sibling rivalries, politics, and human jobs. They drive cars, have cell phones, skate, sing, deejay, party… and the romance is wrapped up in there, too. They have lives.
Life happens in my stories to keep the world I’ve built grounded in some sense of reality. I want my characters relatable. I want readers to think- oh, I know somebody like that.
Trying to adhere to all the ‘writing rules’ sometimes makes it a struggle to keep going. to keep writing.
Now, I’m not saying break all the rules. Please don’t. I spend half my time reading these traditionally published books and mentally editing. Or trying to figure out why I am suddenly in MC two’s head in the same paragraph. (Yeah, 3rd person omniscient. I know. But it must be a smooth transition)
I’m wondering why indie authors have to work twice as hard. Why do we have a different set of rules?
So, my goal for 2022, is to just write the story and not to lose anything in the telling. Edit it, polish it, but don’t squash the life out of it to make it acceptable.
People will love it. They will hate it. But they will read it and that is what counts. If I get reviews, awesome. But I, as a reader, know, that I will take more time to search my kindle for the next book written by an author and completely bypass the review. I know it. I’ve done it. It’s bad, and please forgive me. Just don’t stop writing. 🙂