I read a Dean Koontz novel for the first time a couple of weeks ago. I had hesitated. I know a lot of people who love his stuff. But I'm not really into suspense. I don't go for scary stuff or supernatural stuff. Not because it scares me. I just don't go there.
Anyway, my sister, Julie, who's internet is down, by the way, kept saying, "You have to read Odd Thomas." She said it a lot. And so I looked at the cover and thought, "He sees dead people? Sounds familiar." And I put it down. But then my MOM read it. And I thought, "If mom read it, then I can read it." So I did.
It is an excellent book. Yes, it does have ghosts wandering around, including a crying Elvis. And it has these creepy black spirit things. But the scariest part of the book is the people. People with evil intentions.
The main character Odd, is very odd, and yet lovable. I laughed a lot while reading the book. I also sobbed.
Anyway, here's the thing. In the writing world there are all these "rules". Show - don't tell. Be active - passive is bad. Don't say anything that does not contribute to the plot. Stuff like that.
Dean Koontz doesn't follow the rules. I mentioned that to people and they said, "Yeh, but he's Dean Koontz." Like that gives him allowance to break the rules. My thought is, he wasn't always "the" Dean Koontz. He used to be Dean, a guy trying to sell a book.
I wonder if he is Bestseller Dean Koontz because he breaks the rules? I wonder which came first? And at the very least it tells us that readers don't care about the rules. They just want to read a great story that is well written.
I keep thinking that a really good writer can use the word "was" all they want and get away with it.
So my goal is to be a really good writer, rather than worry about all the rules. Because to tell the truth, they are just sucking the life right out of me. I am at the brink of throwing in the towel as I speak. I think I need to write with the story in mind and not even think about publication. Writing with the idea that I need to please certain people just doesn't work for me. So, if I write - because right now, I don't want to - it will be simply to tell the story the best I can.
I'll still learn and read and take courses, etc. But I am not going to write with "what they want" in mind. Doesn't work. For me. Never does. In any part of my life. I'm not a "figure out what they want and offer it" person. I'm a "here's what I'm offering, take it or leave it" person. The same is true for cooking, leading a Bible Study or starting a ministry, or whatever.
Ok, now. I'm not saying I'm above the rules. Don't go telling me if I want to get published I have to follow the rules. I'm not writing with publication in mind remember? I just need to get the book finished.
Once it's finished, I may change my focus. Then the rules may factor in. I may decide to edit with publication in mind. We'll see.