Sunday, August 27, 2006

Rules are Made to be Broken

How many times has a critique partner told you, "You can't do that?" Or "You need to get rid of every word ending in 'ing'." Or you've heard on a writer's loop somewhere that historicals are dead, cowboys are passe, you can't have a heroine who commits a crime, intentional or not (I actually had an editor tell me that once.) Then you pick up a new novel and on the freshly printed page is--horrors!--a heroine on her way to jail for committing a crime. (Unintentionally of course, and she's exonerated in the end, as mine is).

I've been doing a lot of reading lately. You know what I've found? I don't notice the word was. This is a biggie, because I get dinged for it a lot. Yes, I try to find other ways to say things, but sometimes was is the only word that works. (And no, I'm not referring to the most recent critique where a very kind author pointed out the tremendous overuse of was in an old ms. I have learned a few things. :) I also don't notice the use of adverbs, unless the story itself doesn't hold my attention. What I do notice is rambling thoughts, stilted dialogue, stupid heroines or unbelieveable plots.

Tell a good story, and I'll forgive you anything. So please, quit editing the life out of your book and just write it so I can read it.

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