(Picture by Shannon Hauser)
I have been writing for a while now, but I still have a lot to learn and find that I benefit greatly from the advice of other writer’s. Sometimes I wonder though, which advice is right? Both readers and writers have such individual preferences that it makes it hard to know what is right and what is not.
I have my own style, and I know it needs improving, so in the pursuit of becoming a better writer, I do listen to other views. The problem is that it gets so confusing at times. Some people like flashbacks and some do not, some like action beats, starting a new line for a new characters actions, and some don’t. Some will swear that you should never start on a dream sequence or end on a character going to sleep. All good advice I know, but surely not in every situation?
So how do we become unique and develop our own style, our own voice, when we are following everybody else’s rules? On the one hand these techniques are tried and tested, and more importantly, they work! On the other hand, maybe it can be done different and…maybe, just maybe, that will work too. I suppose it is purely the writer’s choice, but that doesn’t always make it right.
I’m definitely no expert, but the solution as I see it can only be to try. Try it and see if it works. Whether you think it works or you’re not sure, get feedback from trusted sources before you go ahead and publish. If you don’t have any trusted sources – get some! There are, so it is said, many authors with blogs that are happy to help out. Another alternative is to join a writer’s group.
Writing, like everything else in life, has its own rules, but once we know the rules, we learn when they can be broken. Sometimes through our own trial and error, sometimes through other people’s mistakes. Without mistakes we wouldn’t know what works and what doesn’t, I strongly believe that every mistake is a learning experience that gives us an opportunity to grow. So we should not fear them, we should embrace them.
So, how do you know what is right and what is not?