(*Attention artists or friends of artists: be sure to read to the end–I’m putting out a call for entries after the main post.)
The last guest post on this blog dealt with another author’s loathing of writing “rules”–more specifically, Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Good Writing. I won’t list them all again, but if you’re curious, here’s a link to the post. I thoroughly enjoyed her snark and applaud her dislike of fencing a writer in with so many pesky rules. She preferred to call them guidelines, or suggestions. All points well taken and I agree with her–to some extent. Writing is a creative pursuit, and expecting authors to adhere to rules they don’t agree with stifles that creativity (and I’m not talking about grammar or punctuation here. These rules should be mastered early on in a writer’s career.)
What I take exception to is that Elmore Leonard’s rules were just that: his rules. For his kind of writing. And his gazillions of fans obviously enjoyed how he wrote his stories, so it worked. For him. I’m sure someone asked him to create a top ten list of writing advice and he did. As did Stephen King and several other successful authors. Now, I’m not saying these rules won’t work for other writers. They can and do. I generally agree with most of what Leonard listed, with a few caveats. But that’s just my opinion. Just as the rules were Elmore Leonard’s opinion. They aren’t intended to be a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. I don’t think he ever intended them to be viewed as commandments.
Take it or leave it.
I, for one, am a fan of Leonard’s work and have learned quite a lot from him and other masters of the genre, and I will continue to read and study those who have mastered the art of writing how I want to write. For the rest of my life. I haven’t read Nora Roberts, for instance, because I’m not a huge romance fan. But that doesn’t mean her rules (whatever they may be) for writing aren’t worth considering. They work. For her. And you surely have to agree that she’s successful at what she does. Same for Stephen King. Neither of them give a rat’s @ss whether I agree with the way they work their craft. But if someone does want to know how these massively popular authors do what they do, those “rules” are there for the asking. Just read their books.
Okay. Off my soapbox now. On to
Other Bloggy Things
I’ve decided to begin a new feature on the blog where I plan to spotlight artists from all different mediums: vocalists, actors, musicians, painters, filmmakers, etc, as well as authors. I’m calling it the Spotlight Series (original, huh? 🙂 ) and over the course of the next few months I intend to showcase creatives from all sorts of disciplines (and nope, I don’t have a set schedule for when I’ll post them–just like most of the blog’s entries, it’s pretty much gonna be a random event). Yay, random!
The idea hit me one day when I was in the middle of emailing back and forth with several people I know and realized each of them worked in a creative field–and not only as writers. I thought it might be fun to do posts highlighting their work, so the Spotlight Series was born.
If you know someone who you think deserves to be highlighted (even if it’s your fine self), I’ll be accepting suggestions through the end of June. Just email me at dvberkom8[at]gmail(dot)com with information about the artist (whether it’s you or someone you know). I’ll take a look at their work and possibly find a slot for them on the blog. There will be a few questions (not as extensive as Awesome Authors), and I’ll include jpgs or audio/video files of their work in the post. It’s at no charge to the artist and will give them some exposure they might not get otherwise, plus I get to meet interesting people and have cool stuff on the blog. Total win-win!
So what are you waiting for?
Great post, DV! Like you said, the trouble with some of these “rules” is that authors sometimes latch onto them like gospel, which leads to much arguing among other authors and at times doing things that are maybe right for Elmore Leonard’s stories, but not, say, for a historical romance. Cool idea for the spotlights! I’ll pass the info along.
Thanks, Laurie! And please do pass it along. I’m sure you know several artistes who would be a great fit for the blog 🙂
Elisabeth Zguta says
Great post – I know a few young artists, will pass the info along.