“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” – W. Somerset Maugham
When I read this quote a little while ago it made me smile and also gave me a reason to relax. I debate again and again about how I want to write my novels. Do I want to study other authors’ works in the same genre? Do I want to type an outline? Do I want to build up the characters? Do I want to go into the book with no plan? Does this idea make sense? I know there are many authors out there with these same questions plus a thousand more which run through their minds. I know when I sit down to my novels I have some goal or idea in mind and then just write and see what happens. When I wrote Curse Under The Moon I carried an ending goal for my novel and a few ideas of events to occur, but most of the novel was written purely in the moment. I think that is a great way to write, but I’m also learning there are other clever ways to bring a novel to life.
I have shared many debates about how I plan to write up my latest murder mystery idea, but each idea has fizzled out in their own way. Some ideas didn’t work as I planned. Some ideas blew up in my face. And some ideas were too ridiculous for me to even try attempting them. I think that’s the great thing about writing. I believe the quote I shared above is the perfect explanation of the current challenges I’m facing. I had a way I wrote my fantasy/romance novels, but that method is proving to not work for this new idea. I think that means I need to adjust my own rules for how I approach my latest idea. As an author, I need to be willing to adjust how I write to make a new novel a success. I might adjust only a little factor or completely change the method I use. It’s safe to say all the ways an author will change during their writing is one of the fun things about being an author.
Do you have strict rules you use when you write a novel?