It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

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Every month, the organisers announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. Remember, the question is optional!

The January 4 Question: What writing rule do you wish you’d never heard?

I have a love/hate relationship with the writing rules.

I was jagged up by the rule “show don’t tell” for years. I see this as a great cautionary tale for up-and-coming writers. Don’t let the rules limit you. As they say, learn the rules then forget them or else the writing can become stilted.

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The great writer, Ursula Le Guin said, ‘Thanks to “show don’t tell,” I find writers in my workshops who think exposition is wicked. They’re afraid to describe the world they’ve invented.’

When I was coming up as a writer, I took on board every rule I heard until my writing had turned into literary cardboard.

Other control freaks will understand. We take the rules to heart. I followed the rules to the extent that all creative spark in me became squashed. I didn’t have any fresh material for stories. I felt blocked. I wasn’t enjoying the creative process anymore.

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One critique partner at the time said my sentences had no flow and were the rhythmic equivalent of ‘riding over cobblestones on a horse.’

I had a very kind old Indian writer patiently explain that ‘a story is like a room in need of decoration.’ He said, “While your stories are good there isn’t enough furniture.’

Part of my coming up and finding my feet as a writer came from letting go of the rules or at least holding them at a decent arm’s length. I had to give myself permission to experiment again, in order to free up again and feel the inspired feelings take over.

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My writing hero, Kate de Goldi, has said the reason she writes is to chase her lost childhood Eden.

Exactly.

Childhood is eternally enshrined in my mind as the time in my life when I was the most wild and free. It is to that state I seek to return through my writing, and to help the reader see, feel and experience. It is that place I sought to go in the books I read as a child. It is to those ‘special shaded places’ I return to in the books I read as an adult.

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Can I find the secret shaded places through the window of the rules? No. Though it’s helpful to know what’s what when it comes to editing! I think this is what Stephen King meant when he said, “Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.” For me, my initial writing process, or what Joy Cowley calls ‘the genesis project,’ happens best when I shut out what the world has to say, via rules or otherwise, and surrender to wherever the muse wants to go.

If I have writing resolutions for 2017, it is to get my second book finished! And, to let myself be even more free with my writing this year, to be more wild. I want to feel I can explore, unfettered, the unique way of writing fiction which works best for me. And, I love that this particular process is an ever-unfolding road. It will never be finished. I’ll never reach the end of learning how to write.

The goal is ever to find my stories in my way, on my own terms.

What is your New Year’s Writing Resolution?

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Talk to you later.

Keep on Creating!

Yvette K. Carol

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Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. ~ Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

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Subscribe to my Newsletter by emailing me with “Newsletter Subscription” in the subject line to: yvettecarol@hotmail.com

 

 

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Comments
  1. Your advice to not let rules limit you is perfect! I have no writing resolutions for the year…I’ll just put down one word at a time. 🙂 Good luck finishing your 2nd book!

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Thanks, Tee. That’s so the way I feel these days. I used to make structured goals but now, I’m grateful to be writing and critiquing and living. I just want to enjoy the ride.
      Hey, it’s so nice to see you back. We missed you out here on the ether 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. davidprosser says:

    Good Luck in finishing the second book Yvette.
    Happy New Year.
    xxx Huge Hugs xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great advice! Run wild and free!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. emaginette says:

    Writing resolution? To get another work out there, but through an agent this time. I had this resolution last year too. One year I plan to keep it. hehehe

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Hi, Anna! How are you, girl? 🙂
      Yeah, I’ve had to do that with one or two intentions also – put them from last year’s list to this. But, that’s okay. In fact, I was just saying on another blog comment stream, that as I get older, I am able to hold my goals more loosely and realize that it really is about the journey along the way. I’ve not tried to get an agent, yet. Maybe next year. Ha ha!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Bun Karyudo says:

    “Show don’t tell” has to be more of a guideline, I think. It’s going to be very hard for authors to tell their story if they’re constantly having to turn the simplest of facts about their characters into a game of charades.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Yes, ‘a guideline’ is a great way of putting it – sounds so much more reasonable than ‘rule’ right? Now, if I could just remember it’s a guideline and stop flagellating myself with it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Best of luck!
    Abandon rules ~ be irreverant!
    Peta

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pinar Tarhan says:

    I have so many! I also did a post on resolutions on my blog. Public accountability gives a bit of a kick in the butt. But if I had to pick one, it would be to pitch producers and do more rewrites. And I’m stuck in two screenplays. I love the premise and characters, but something is missing. Fingers crossed I’ll find those. Best of luck and inspiration and speed with your second book! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Hey, Pinar, Happy New Year! I saw your resolutions post. Thank you for the good wishes. Yes, I find the ‘public accountability’ thing good, too. For instance, in my Newsletter around Xmas, I said I’d wash the house exterior and paint the hall. I really didn’t feel like working during my holidays but because I’d announced it, I had to follow through. Got it done, too!
      Good luck with your screenplays! 🙂

      Like

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