“The truth is, there is only one rule to writing. Write.” So begins a piece in Writing Romance: The Ultimate Guide on Craft, Creation and Industry Connections. I was drawn to this selection because of the title, Breaking the Rules, and because the author, Allison Brennan, is one of my favorites.
Breaking the Rules is about all the ‘shoulds’ and ‘shouldn’ts’ that well-meaning writers, editors, evaluators, and various other voices tell the person who is doing the writing. There are ways to write and ways not to write. After all, there are rules to follow when writing romance.
Or are there?
Breaking the Rules explores the idea of writers developing their voice, ultimately becoming published (or re-invigorated) authors, by choosing when and how to ignore feedback and the ‘shoulds’ of others.
By breaking and making your own rules, you create yourself as a writer.
I have spent my life following rules. I am the oldest daughter and took that responsibility seriously-I hardly ever went out in high school, I had good grades, I went to a four year college. I am a teacher in a public school and I take seriously the idea of institution and the need to follow ‘rules’ in order for society to function. I love science and discovering meaning in order. That’s one part of me.
Then, there’s the other part. The non-rule follower. The,* gasp*, Rule Breaker. This is the woman who has been running my life of late. She has taken time off work without having a job lined up. She has not paid bills. She entertains fantasies of leaving teaching and science forever, somehow coming into possession of a camper, and becoming a wandering, writing, life-experiencing Jewish-Pagan-Atheist.
Both extremes are me: an expression of my most comfortable of comfy comfort zones, and my intense desire for freedom to gobble up experiences. I shouldn’t (there’s that word again); I can’t live my life as one extreme or the other.
So maybe, just as suggested in Breaking the Rules, I need to pick and choose the rules that I follow and the rules that I break. By resonating with my truths, intuition, and experiences, I need to make my own rules to create myself as a writer.
By breaking and making my own rules, I make my own life.
Note: Allison Brennan will be discussing Breaking the Rules on June 11th, at the San Francisco Area/RWA Chapter meeting. Click here for more information or to register.
Contemporary and paranormal romance writer by night, copy-editor and teacher by day, Karysa Faire is still finding her way in life. Loving to read, travel, and explore the human psyche, she is the author of the blog, Karysa Faire’s Way.