The Rules of Writing

No, I am not going to make a list of rules for writing.  Every writer has their own style and some times rules are broken…and it’s  good.

But there is one rule that should never be broken, one rule that can make or break a novel.  I am no expert and I don’t even have a book published yet.  I did self-publish, but I quickly realized how much work my novel needed and I took it down before I offended anyone.

Hang with me, I will get to the point in a moment.

I am going to a comicon this Saturday.  I was super excited, but I didn’t know any of the authors.  I hit up Amazon and bought the Kindle version of a few books that I thought I would enjoy.  I was super excited about one because it was about vampires and demons.  If you have read any of my post before, you already know my obsession with anything supernatural.

There are not a lot of books that I don’t like.  When I do find a book that I don’t like, I will at least finish it.  I read 50 Shades of Grey…the entire series.  They were not very good, horrible story, but I have this thing where I have to finish a series if I have started it.  It doesn’t apply to every series, but most of the time I do.

The book that I bought about demons started off…bad.  I kept reading, hoping that it would get better.  Last night I sat it down for the last time.  I will not be finishing the story and I will be nice enough to not tell the world what book this is.  Seeing as it is a self-published book, you probably won’t come across it.

I have found some really great self-published books, so this didn’t bother me.  It was the writing that blew it for me.  The story is there…it has potential, but it needs a new author.

There were a few things wrong with it.  First, all the grammatical and spelling errors attack you in the first few pages.  It’s like the author wrote the book and published it the same day it was finished.  All writers know you can’t do that.  No matter how much you want to share your story, there is a process to this.  Even I had my story edited a few times by friends before I thought to throw it to the wolves.

Second issue with this book was the length of the paragraphs.  I read one paragraph that took up two pages.  That is just too much.  There should be a break in there somewhere.  I saw plenty of places where it could have easily been broken into a new paragraph.  Also, there was way too much information thrown at you in these paragraphs.  And most of the words just ended up being a jumbled mess in my brain.

And then there is the last issue, the one that caused me to throw in the towel and stop trying to be nice to this author by finishing her book.  This is the one rule that should always be followed when you are writing.  When you are writing dialogue and you have two people talking, their dialogue should be separated into new paragraphs every time the dialogue switches characters.  Did that make sense?

As I said before, this book had a two page paragraph.  In that paragraph there were two people talking to one another.  There were no breaks to tell me a different person was talking, so in my mind they all had the same voice.

Am I wrong thinking this?  Is there some kind of writing style where it’s okay for the author to confuse their readers?

Am I the only one extremely annoyed with it?

I was so frustrated with this book that I almost threw my Kindle across the room and cursed it into oblivion.

I was a reader before I was a writer.  I told stories before I started writing, but my mom used to read to me when I was younger.  In my experience, most writers were readers first.  We know what we like when we read and we see the rules of writing right there on the pages of our favorite books.  I have never read a book where the dialogue was so messed up.

That is my rant for the day.  Did any of it make sense?  Have you found any self-published books that you just couldn’t stand?

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2 thoughts on “The Rules of Writing

  1. Juan Zung says:

    Great rant! I mostly agree with everything you said. Definitely in regards to my own writing, where I struggle enough as a writer without throwing in extra obstacles like overlong paragraphs and careless grammar.

    But there are some truly genius authors that break these rules with amazing results (you can probably think of many yourself!). Like Jose Saramago (*Blindness*), who writes in long paragraphs with dialogue between two or more characters that is not only not separated by new paragraphs, but he doesn’t even use quotation marks! His command of language and character makes it easy to disregard these issues. Of course, he’s a Noble Prize winner…

    • Heather M. says:

      I will have to check this author out. I’m curious as to how he made this work. Some authors are just good enough to ignore every rule and still be the most talented and idolized authors. The author of the book I was reading…she was not one of those authors. lol

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