Deep POV: Confessions of a Christian Writer

The ramblings of an emergent-realistic-edgy-working-for-God-and-the-pay-isn’t-that-great-sometimes-confused-christian-fiction writer (uh, that would be me).

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Writing Tip: Writing Rules

In the latest issue of his Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine, author and all-around-crazy-guy, Randy Ingermanson, gives a piece of advice to novelists that's well worth repeating:
When you're in Creating mode, you DO NOT WANT TO BE
BURDENED WITH RULES! If you get all hog-tied with
rules in Creating mode, you are going to die in a
rule-based writer's-block angst, and you'll deserve it.
When you are Creating, just write the darn story.
Blast that story out, baby!

Some people have trouble with that blasting thing. Some
people are just a wee bit retentive and can't bear to
let a mistake go without fixing it. I heard from a
friend today on how she learned to let go. She
scrunched up the window of her word processor so she
couldn't see what she was typing! Then she just whacked
out a scene. Hey, whatever works. I guess the only
thing I'd caution about with that method is to make
sure your fingers are on the home base keys, or you're
going to have one ugly mess of letters when you get
It took me awhile, but I finally learned this rule and now, when I'm laying down words on paper, I'm doing it happily, my internal editor kicked to the curb until the thing is done. All kinds of wonderful things emerge this way. And to do it the other way, worrying over every single word that hits the page, is to invite not only an agonizingly slow pace, but an attack of perfection paralysis that ends up getting you nowhere except deep into Doubt and Despair. Take my advice (and, more importantly, Randy's): Don't go there.

And if you haven't already (and, if you haven't what's wrong with you?), subscribe to Randy's e-zine by going here. It won't cost you a thing.