Any decent kind of world, you wouldn’t need all these rules.
In marketing there are rules for everything. Scratch a marketing article or book and chances are you will uncover a set of do’s and don’ts punctuated by bullets or numbers.
But novels seem to have an organic growth of their own, and they grow differently in every writer’s soil. As W. Somerset Maugham said, famously, “There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”
So recently, because I haven’t been progressing as I should with my novel, and because the early part of the draft is fading from my memory, I decided to break one of my own non-rules and re-read what I had written so far. My practice is to plow through to the end of a first draft without looking back. But here was an auspicious time to make an exception and to hope, superstitiously, that my story wouldn’t turn to stone because I looked back at it.
It was with surprise and pleasure that I discovered I enjoyed reading the story. I even had the thought – this is a good story. And if this is a good story, then it’s worth writing. And if it’s worth writing, then it’s worth plowing on to the finish.
It gave me a jolt of pleasure to consider that my story might elicit a positive response from future readers. In fact, I would be happy if the pleasure I give a reader is a more modest glow of warmth and recognition rather than an electrifying jolt.
At some unspecified time in the uncertain future, I will be reaching out to a few known and many unknown readers who will turn the pages of my novel and perhaps think, with a warm glow of pleasure, “This is a good story.”
That’s writing inspiration enough to keep me going for now.
Ding! Round over.