I know a lot of you that read this blog are writers, so let's talk about writing Rules today (and maybe tomorrow since it's Sunday for a lot of you right now).
I'm not going to give you a list of Rules. I'm going to ask you to give me some that you've heard. And then, we're going to rip them apart! Yes, that's right. We're going to deconstruct the rules. Because while rules are good, following them slavishly is never a good idea.
I'm going to visit a traumatic event in my past to give you an indication of why. After Awaken to Pleasure, my second book came out, I got the most horrible 1 star review for it on Amazon. Okay, I wasn't actually traumatized. I'd been through enough contests to know that my work is either loved or not. I tend not to get too many middle-grounders. (The fact that the other two reviews up there are 4 and 5 stars, tends to support my theory).
But though I didn't see it at that stage, I later realized the review had to have written by an aspiring writer. Because one of the things (among many, many others) that she blasted me for was breaking the rules - for telling and not showing certain things. I may be wrong, but what reader actually pulls apart a book to that extent?
Example: I didn't show my heroine being devoted to her brother. Guess what? Those scenes were written and then edited out, because they interrupted the flow of the love story. This book was about Taylor and Jackson, not Taylor and her little brother. Sometimes you do have to tell and then just move on. Showing every single thing would take up too much time and slow the pace of the book to an incredible level.
In the happy ending to this story, Awaken to Pleasure sold like crackerjacks and I still get letters from readers telling me it's their favorite books so far. The point is that while rules are useful bases, you can't allow yourself to get so hung up on them that you forget to tell a good story. Because in the end, it's all about story.
So, what other rules have you heard? And what do you think about them?
Edited to add: Okay, weird. After posting this, I popped over to Romance Divas and there's a Showing/Telling workshop going on. It's very good, and goes way beyond being stuck to the simplistic type of rule I was talking about above, so go check it out!