Welcome to this week’s blog hop. Today the topic is:
What generic ‘rules’ did you abide by when you started writing that have gone out the window?
I did not take up writing until 2013 when I started to work shorter hours and had more time to myself. I had not previously had the chance to go to university in my younger days, and so had gained neither an English degree nor any experience in journalism which so many writers have.
Subsequently I started writing my first novel ‘The Porn Detective’ with no idea how to form a novel at all, and so I had no rules to follow as such. I just wrote the words in my head and hoped for the best. Apparently you just wrote a book, sent it to a literary agency, and then waited for the money to roll in when it was accepted (!). I sent the completed novel off to a few agents, and was rewarded with much feedback and a possible chance of being represented after the outcome of a conference between the owners of the Susijn Agency in London to discuss my book. Yes, this was what happened to authors, and so I was sure it would be accepted as it was about a subject that not many people wrote about. I was quietly confident.
When the meeting did not go in my favour, I was brought up short. I started reading the feedback I’d had from the other agencies. I was advised to re-write the book in the third person, to have less events going on and to draw out one or two events instead, and to change the title. I also won a free edit of the first few chapters when I sent it to a writing competition. The editor was really informative and I could see from her work how I should have set the novel out in the first place.
It took me 3 years to get around to re-writing the book (now called ‘Mind Games’), but by then the agency were not taking on any new clients. However… I had learned so much more regarding how to write a novel. There are rules for writing that need to be adhered to, and because I hadn’t known what they were when I started out (indeed, I didn’t think there were any), I had lost out on that possible chance for representation.
C’est la vie.
So to answer the question, I had no rules to start with but realised what they were once I began to write more books and read blogs focusing on improving novel writing. But that’s me… I’ve always been a bit contrary!
I’m over on the Isle of Wight with the grandchildren for the next two weeks, but if I’ve got time to take part in the next two blog hops then I will. Looking after children is a bit time consuming!
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