Nov 19, 2012
First, I hope you will forgive me; apparently my last post creeped several people out. No, I was not writing my death wish. Just using an illustration. I can get very morbid in my illustrations. That, and I was writing first thing in the morning and was rather sleepy.
Speaking of death wishes, it is oh-so-easy to write your own when writing your book. The readers are smart. If you break a rule? You're dead.
One thing that bothered me all the way through The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman? The souls. Didn't Will's father's soul become a living manifestation as soon as he stepped into Lyra's world? It may have been years since I read book two, but how come it took Will being separated from his soul for a period of time to see it? He had been in Lyra's world on and off all book! Namely, I was on the verge of blowing up the whole time.
This rule is mostly for science fiction and/or fantasy writers, but may apply to other categories. If you have a rule for something, don't break it.
Of course, there was a reason I broke this rule. Don't you understand that Jim was able to do X because Sandy accidentally granted him three wishes? Mark this where I die, people. If you never explain that the cause was Sandy, you're going to be losing some readers.
Out in the real world, you don't assume that rules will be broken, do you? You expect them to be followed and for everything to be in order. What do you do when a rule is broken? Well, putting it in the nicest of terms, you're probably going to be a bit . . . agitated.
Just as worse is having no rules. Especially if you're a high strung, we're-doing-everything-by-the-book kind of person like me. I need to know my boundaries. I need to know I'm doing everything right.
The reader needs to know too. So Jim just spontaneously gets three, free wishes? What can he wish for? Anything? Everything? More wishes? This was one thing the movie, Aladin, did well on. The main character was granted three wishes, and the genie had to go down the list of all the things he couldn't wish for.
There. Now the reader and the main character have boundaries. If you didn't, I'd be yelling at him to make a wish machine throughout the whole book. Come on, I'm sure I'm not the only one who decided they'd wish for infinite wishes if granted three wishes. What? I was six!
Readers are very aware of the rules you play by. You step out of bounds? You'll get a penalty. Make your rules and follow them. Whether it's for your wish granting genie, your made up sport, or the laws of Aunt Jessie's kitchen.
Now go out there and do some rule following!
Have an excellent day and do forgive me for my missed days.