Rules? Not For Bestsellers

There’s so much advice out there for writers. Do this, don’t do this – and sometimes it gets right up my nose!

I know, I know: lots of it makes sense. After all, rules are there to give us guidance. And the people telling us the rules are experts who’ve had hotshot careers in publishing (or so they tell us) or have spent years studying and teaching English literature/creative writing at the University of Wherever.

But how many of us really like being told how we should write? So, this particular technique works for John Grisham or Stephen King or… whoever. Do we care? Do we want to be the next whoever?

No, we don’t. Personally, I want to be the first ME! And if I can get away with telling my stories in the way that comes naturally to me then so much the better.

book-cover-100-year-old-manWhich is why I’m finding my current read so refreshing. I recently started The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared.

And one of the things that struck me very quickly is that it’s nearly all ‘tell’ not ‘show’. And it works!

This is one of the best-selling books in the UK at the moment and it’s had all sorts of glowing praise heaped on it.

So yah boo sucks to all those experts who are always nagging us ‘show don’t tell’ and hurrah for Jonas Jonasson not only having the courage to break the rules but demonstrating that you can also write an excellent book without following everyone else’s advice.

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5 responses to “Rules? Not For Bestsellers”

  1. Juliette says :

    Awesome post. You tell them! I’m going to now TELL everyone about this and reblog it!

  2. Maddie Cochere says :

    Huw, good post. Rules! Bah Humbug!

    Once I started blogging, I became so weary of finding out that just about everything I had already done was wrong. When I started writing, I was blissfully ignorant. I never took classes about writing, nor did I read about writing; I simply wrote my story. Now that I’ve been here at WP for ten months, I know more, but I’m not going to rewrite my first book – or my second one for that matter. They cross genres, don’t follow the rules, and people will either like them or they won’t. They please me in their wayward silliness, and I’m finding a few other people like them, too.

    That Hundred-Year-Old Man cover is pretty great. 🙂

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  1. Rules? Not For Bestsellers | West Coast Review - March 19, 2013

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