I have a list next to my computer about all the things I'm not allowed to do as I write.
Now don't get me wrong: All the writerly advice regarding grammar and such I'm fine with - even though some make my favorite reads hard to digest (I hate myself for flinching and counting Robbin Hobbs adverbs). But other things I have more problems with and have a tough time being goody girl.
For example why the heck can't I write a Prologue??
Ok, I haven't. No I did, I just named it differently.
Then I moved it back and invented another.
Just so THAT OTHER character wouldn't be thrown in and disappear again.
He would have returned, but ok...
I dang don't want to fit in the nice writer drawer!!!
😤Well, I found an older article by Charlie Jane Anders (author of All The Birds in the Sky) who handed me the fairydust and told me to fight drawers - and I shall! Because I am sure there are more readers with whom her words and wishes resonate. Maybe you are one of them? Or a writer who gets distracted by glancing at "What not to do lists"?
Let's look at what she said - one by one - over the next few days and I'll give you my thoughts in red. (I kept Charlie Jane Anders' links for reference)
"Science fiction and fantasy are genres where almost anything can happen — as long as the author can make it seem plausible, and as long as it’s part of a good story. But that doesn’t mean there are no rules. If anything, the fact that these genres are so wide open mean that there are tons of rules (tell me about it 🙄) out there, some unspoken and some written in black and white.
Note: We’re not saying you must break any of the rules below. (>raises hand<😜)You can craft a brilliant work of fiction while still following all of the rules below. And most of these rules exist for a reason — because if you break them without knowing what you’re doing, you can screw up horrendously. Some of the rules below represent things that may have been done to death in the past, so it’s best to make sure you have a fresh spin. But at the same time, too many rules can be a creativity-killer, and sometimes it’s good to bust out some illegal moves. (Just think Pokemon. Great moveset and you win!)
1) No third-person omniscient.Third-person omniscient used to be the default mode for a lot of novelists — a lot of the classics of literary fiction as well as science fiction are written in third person omniscient. This means, in a nutshell, that the narrator can see what’s going through any character’s head, and can flit around as the story requires. But in recent years, fiction writers have opted for first person or limited third — in which only one person at a time gets to be a viewpoint character. The thing is, though, when you have tight third person with multiple viewpoint characters, it often feels like an omniscient narrator who’s choosing to play games.
And actual third-person omniscient can be fantastic — you need look no further than Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which freely lets you know what Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect and assorted other characters are thinking at any given moment. Or countless classic SF writers, for that matter. But I also want to put in a plea: anyone who’s serious about writing genre fiction should read Henry Fielding, who makes third-person omniscient into an art form. In novels like Joseph Andrews and Tom Jones, Fielding draws these brilliant tableaux where he pauses to show what everyone’s thinking, and how much at cross-purposes everyone is. It helps him be a keen observer of people, and also creates these beautifully funny set pieces.
I have to confess "first point" and I already fall in the good girl category. I LOVE close third and wont break that rule. I can't deal with first - it's TOTALLY awkward writing for me - while close third means I have to BECOME ONE character at the time.
|Characters take individual shapes in my head as I become them...|