July 21, 2013

Writing Tip: There Are No Absolutes

I recently went to the Southeastern Writers Conference (that's a picture at left of St. Simon's Island, where the conference was held - inspiring, right?). It was a fabulous experience which I'll write about in more detail later.
To me, there's nothing better than being in the company of other writers - the camaraderie, the enthusiasm, the support, the laughs, the advice...and if I learn just one thing at a conference I consider it a success. Mostly I learn a lot at the conferences I attend but there was one where I felt I didn't learn anything. And at that one I met a wonderful writer who has turned into a great friend - Randy Richardson, so that made the experience worthwhile.
At the Southeastern Writers Conference I learned  that even the workshops that weren't focused on my genre, fiction, were informative and instructive - writing techniques transfer from genre to genre.
One of the workshop leaders at the conference had some rules. One was, don't use first person perspective. He doesn't like it, he doesn't read it, he doesn't think other people do. "Just don't do it," he said.
Well, I guess he won't be reading my books.
I say, write however you are comfortable. Personally, I like reading books written in first person - I like the intimacy of it. I also like writing in first person. I've written in third, and maybe my next book will be written that way, but maybe not. I believe your story guides you in the telling.
There are lots of writing rules. Just take a look at any writing website or any of the writing books on your shelf:

  • Write what you know
  • Don't use a prologue
  • Don't start your story with a dream
and on and on...
And many of them make sense. But there are books that have broken every rule and are still successful.
My advice is: write beautifully. Hone your craft. Follow the rules if they feel right, break them if you must, but  if you do, do it beautifully.

More on this topic from Writer Unboxed, one of my favorite writing websites: Rules and Tools by Dave King.

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