There are different concerns for writing fiction and nonfiction. When the writer is the narrator of reality, she needs clean writing. Grammar, punctuation, and word choice must follow all the rules for the genre in question. However, when writing fiction, there are different rules. The most wonderfully liberating involves first person.
If you’ve read any of my novels, you know I love first person. This is where I live. I enjoy it because it gives me the opportunity to dive into the head of my character, to think about things the way they would think. And I start to talk like them. How would they speak? What would they say? How different would they be really? I live beneath their skin, moving their mouths with every keystroke.
And this is where the rules of grammar and word choice take a hard left from those of nonfiction. Suddenly, a writer can use slang freely (assuming the character would). Swearing makes its debut. Adverbs grace the pages repeatedly because, well, that’s how the character talks.
Let me be clear: it is good to know what all the rules of writing are. A writer should be aware of the nuances of language. Writers should be adept at structure, style, and usage. They should know all this so when they bend or break rules, they do it purposefully.
At least, this is the goal.
To be perfectly frank, I stumbled into writing novels. I stumbled into practicing the rules. Writing was an intuitive thing, functioning as a flood of raw creative energy. I didn’t know what I was doing. I just did. Because of this, my work was noticeably new to a master of the craft. The good news is writing is a skill. I can always get better. There’s always room for improvement, and improve I have.
The moral of the story is, know the rules of your genre. Write daily. Practice those rules. You will get better, no matter where you are in your writing journey.
With indie love,
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