It has been brought to my attention that some authors, myself included, feel like outcasts for not following certain “rules” of writing. We feel like we can’t get away with it, but then we look to those like Steven King who took the rule book and threw it out the window. I have never been one to follow writing rules. In fact, I push against them with everything I have because I feel that these “rules” do not make a great book. It may have worked for Stephanie Meyer and E.L. James, but it doesn’t work for everyone. Do I feel it’s important to follow them? Obviously not, and for those reasons.
One rule that I absolutely detest is that you must stay within the genre that you started. There are so many authors with so many stories to tell but feet constricted by this. Why do they try so hard? Because everyone else has a tendency to follow it. I wrote a short horror story in middle school, but I don’t consider that to be where I started. I started in urban fantasy with “Follow the Ashes: Book 1 of the Executioner Trilogy.” I don’t regret the move at all and know I never will. Now I am branching out and going against those so called “rules” again. Shame on me, right? Pft, I don’t think so. And it seems Indie authors are the only ones willing to break it.
These “rules” are made for college students and, let’s face it, most of us aren’t. I do have two psychology degrees focusing in Abnormal and Criminal Neuropsychology, but I had a tendency to break the “rules” while I was in college even. This got me amazing grades somehow, but I’m getting off topic here aren’t I? I feel this “rule” about staying within your first genre causes turmoil among a lot of authors. I see it on my FaceBook feed all the time from those I am friends with and even took one post about breaking the rules as inspiration for this guest post. Friend and author S.C. Parris is truly someone to look up to with the passion and the talent to match. So when she thought she wouldn’t be successful because she didn’t follow these “rules” I had a very true answer for her. That I didn’t follow them either and that we would be literary masters in our own right one day. I meant every single word. Unfortunately, not every great writer is recognized which is a shame. As an author and owner of a publishing company I get to see all sorts of rules be broken every day and the only ones I truly care about is grammar.
If I come across a great story with amazing writing I will accept it because we cannot be backed into a corner by these “rules” now can we? We are what will shape the literary world for years to come so why not make waves? So why do we let them hold us back? The fear of failure because we didn’t play nice in the sandbox with the “rules.” To be honest I’ve never played nice in the sandbox with anyone, especially the “rules.” As a result I am now working in urban fantasy, horror, erotic horror, dystopian fiction, science fiction, and even delving into the world of human sex trafficking with a new project. I am even pushing the boundaries within these genres as well. We can’t let the “rules” restrain us because they think they will bring us that claim to fame. If anything, it is us naysayer and rule breakers that will pave the way for the world’s literary future. I didn’t break these “rules” because I detest authority and rules. I broke them because I feel you can’t put rules on creative genius. If you look at any of my characters you’ll see the same trait in them as well.
My words of advice…write what you want and don’t worry about the “rules.” We write for us first and readers second. Now it’s up to you to carve your own path in this world and I hope you make the same decision because I don’t regret doing it and neither will you.