We’ve all seen the “rules of writing”. You know the warnings about overdone clichés, story structure fitting a cookie-cutter template, show don’t tell, and more.
As a new writer, I remember sitting back and being overwhelmed by the number of things I wasn’t supposed to do in my writing. I can’t do this, I can’t do that…
What happened to “write what you want to write”?
My favorite quote, the one that helped get me started with writing, is “no one sees the world the way you do, so no one can tell the stories you have to tell.”
But what if the story you want to tell is full of clichés? Of overdone storylines? Of silly romances and love triangles and werewolves and vampires and superpowers and magic?
Here’s what you do… you write it.
You write to your heart’s content. You make the girl fall in love with two different characters. You let them take on a bigger power than themselves and defeat a dark lord. You take your characters on adventures to new worlds with talking animals and space drama. Own your fanfiction story and let your mind wander.
If that’s the story you want to tell, don’t let anyone tell you not to write it. Don’t shy away because it’s an overdone story. If you want to write it, write it.
And as writers, it’s time we stop stomping on new writers’ dreams. Let them practice and learn to fall in love with the writing process. Cheer them on when they hit word counts and tell cheesy stories and learn to love writing. Get excited with them when they can’t stop talking about how fun it is to send their characters on adventures, no matter how overdone it is.
Then, when they start to find their voice, applaud them for finding new ways to grow as writers. Point out their talents and abilities and unique takes on a scene. Help them see that their creativity and curiosity are helping them develop an amazing story.
As a writing community, we are supposed to be helping other writers feel welcomed. Applaud our new members by building them up instead of tearing them down for using an overdone love triangle. Let them be happy and develop their writing. Encouragement helps them discover their talents and branch out into new territory once they have practice.
And if they choose to stay in the same cliché, then that’s their choice. They might be comfortable there or they might have the unique talent of sharing it in a new way.
Let people write the story they want to write.
I tell this from experience. In my first book, I tried something that I’d never read before — I included music references. Sure, I’ve seen passing mentions of bands and songs, but I’d never seen the music actually be an integral part of the story.
Sure, I made sure my book worked without needing to look up the songs. Besides, you don’t want your reader to have to pause, look up music, and then return to the pages. I made it flow, but I also did my best to deliver an even stronger experience by weaving very specific songs into my work.
I was told flat out it was a terrible idea. Many people tried to talk me out of including them. So many people were worried I was relying too much on it.
But to me, the music made the experience that much better. No, not everyone was going to go back and listen to the songs, but the few that did would get a different experience of emotion.
And I’m happy to say that the second book’s playlist is now available for you to listen to. It was a fun challenge and a way to bring my book to life in my head and hopefully in yours.
I’m happy I was able to do something different. I’m happy I didn’t listen to people when they said to remove the references. It makes my book unique and I was able to write exactly what I wanted to write and how I wanted to write it. I owned it and soon I’ll have a second published book.
If you want to check out the playlist, here it is! You can also find it on Apple Music.