It seems the internet is awash with rules these days. Everyone who’s ever written anything from a short story to a seven book saga has an opinion on how it should be done. Do this. Do that. Do these three things and you can’t fail. For the love of God, don’t do that!
You get the idea.
But as far as I can see, there are only two ironclad rules of writing that professionals and wannabes alike should ever adhere to. That’s right. Two.
So what’s the first rule of write club?
1. There are no rules!
And the second?
2. Guess what? There are no fricken rules!
I have spent years, nay decades, in the pursuit of perfectly formed prose and precision crafted plotlines that adhere to (air quotes) ‘the rules’ of writing. And do you want to know how many stories I’ve sold? How many books I’ve published?
None. Nadda. Zip.
It’s not that my writing is bad (I mean, it may very well be. You tell me) it’s that I rarely finish a project, so nobody ever gets to read it (except maybe my mum and only to stroke my own ego). When serendipity strikes, I drag out the rule book. I bind her with restrictions and gag her with rules (heck, I’ve even waterboarded her ass on occasion) until she’s nothing more than a shivering, incoherent wreck of her former, glorious self.
Then one day I had an epiphany. These people, this faceless multitude, don’t know me. They don’t know how I work or in what direction the cogs in my head turn. Who, then, are they to tell me how to write? They may as well tell me how to dream.
You’ve got to get that write brain churning, through whatever means you have, in whatever form it takes, and tell the know-it-alls to shut the hell up.
No shirts, no shoes, people. And if this is your first night at write club, I suggest you do just that.