Standing in the naughty corner…
Now what is Raven rambling on about do I hear you mutter? As ever I’ve not lost the plot. Well no more than usual.
I’m talking about rules. Rules that sometimes make no sense. Rules that are often ambiguous, frequently annoying and seem to be a prerequisite for some and not for others.
The way we are supposed to form our sentences. The grammar that is acceptable; or needs to be binned. The punctuation marks we should and shouldn’t use. Scary!
If you read the above, I’ve broken a fair few of those not always acknowledged rules there. Just because I can. Well I can here. Oh, and plus, to see if anyone noticed.
We all know we should show not tell, and how showing enriches a story. If there is a lot of telling you soon notice and wonder about it. That’s been discussed elsewhere.
I’m talking about the not too many ‘ing’ words, don’t start consecutive sentences with the same word and don’t head hop or have independently body parts. Why ‘!’ and ‘:’ and ‘;’ aren’t acceptable. Why — is okay and – isn’t.
And no coma splices or run-on sentences.
And why not, when you read a famous best-selling author and they do any combination of those things?
I could be facetious and say, oh suck it up, that’s life, but I won’t.
What I will say, is that ages ago a very well known writer told me, that before you can break the rules, you need to know what they are and why they are there. Then and only then can you play with them. Bend them or ignore them.
But…and that is a very big but, you do it ay your peril. Or your publisher’s wrath. If your publishing house has a house style, you have to use it. Unfortunately a lot do, but don’t have a document or such where they say what they are. That can be a bit trial and error, but use your common sense and if there is an author group like at Evernight, ask in there. After all everyone has been in your situation.
Sometimes you need to have an immediate response from the other character. It’s easy to slip into his/her P. O. V., and out again. But do you have to? Can’t you show us his/her response in words?
Your character is doing things. That involves ‘ing’ words. But think about it. Does it have to? Sometimes yes, but not always. Use your ‘ing’ words sparingly. Then they have impact.
You want to make a hard hitting statement? Words can do it. You don’t need an exclamation mark every time. and so on.
What I’m saying is…
Think before you ‘ing’.
Hesitate before you exclaim.
Don’t let those body parts go off independently. They need the body. and so on.
So when you do break the rules, and we all do it, make sure it is subtle, needed and accepted.
Oh and if it isn’t? Go and sit in the naughty corner and repeat after me. Rules are there for a reason…
Happy rule following/breaking,
love Raven x