Friday, November 30, 2012
Friday Night at the Question Emporium
Just read a piece on your blog about writers wasting time fretting. I have a question about "rules". Like never start a novel with a character waking up. Never use any backstory in first chapter. An agent will never read it. They are trying to be helpful but many novels follow all the rules but are boring. Do I have to start at the scene of an explosion with dead all over ? I can do what I have to.
Is a good MO for me to just get 100k words and then worry about these questions later w appropriate input?
I know you are not a writing coach and I promise I won't be a pain in the ass but I have to ask someone who knows.
(May the family violence unit not visit your building over the Holidays!)
Ah! You've missed a key element of the writing process: REVISION.
That's the step between "just get 100K words" and "later with appropriate input."
In the immortal and valuable words of Bill Cameron, no slouch at this writing biz himself, "give yourself permission to suck."
so, yes, get the words on the paper. Then and only then do you go back and take out the stuff that doesn't belong.
Generally that will be anything that doesn't move the plot forward or develop character (Kurt Vonnegut's rule)
This is where the "rules" will become clear. Does someone waking up move the plot forward or develop character? If it does in your book, break the rule. If it doesn't you follow the rule. But you follow the rule cause it works here, not cause it's a rule.
Rules are generally to help people look for places that are obvious problems to a more experienced writer. Once you've written a couple novels, you've learned some stuff about how to do it.
There's one thing your opening pages have to do: entice me to read on. If you can do that with backstory, weather, driving, or waking up, no problem. If you can't, you're in darn good company and you'll chop that part out before I ever see it.