Thursday, May 10, 2012

Writing Magazine

It's the all for free tasting week. I suppose I should have mentioned that when it started... I can't remember now, but there's a couple of days left, I think...

Anyway, here's a couple of articles that are free:
Use contests as a steppingstone
Improve your chances of winning
More on winning novel contests

Then there's 7 rules for writing historical fiction...

The truth about this is that if you have a story, you will have listeners/readers whether you follow the rules or not.

Just think about
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon;
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer and
50 Shades of Grey by E. L. James.

The negative reviews are mostly because of the authors haven't followed these rules, but all three of these are very, very popular. 

"The pseudonymous British author sets the action (such as it is) in Washington State... for no reason than that her knowledge of America apparently consists of what she read in "Twilight"... but the entire first-person narrative is filled with Britishisms. How many American college students do you know who talk about "prams" and "ringing" someone on the phone? And the author's geography sounds like she put together a jigsaw puzzle of the Pacific Northwest while drunk and ended up with several pieces in the wrong place."
- DS from LA about 50 Shades of Grey

For some reason people had no problems swallowing the camels of Diana Gabaldon's historical problems... To me it began already in the beginning, with the description of a post WWII nurse on vacation in Scotland... I started thinking about all the amazing BBC series portraying women in 40's, and Claire didn't fit the picture in any way. Then she insisted on carrying the stone flower press around the landscape. What? Who the heck does that? Not anyone who has ever collected and pressed plants. Let's move on. The 18th century people thinking a woman with good leather shoes would be a whore because she was wearing a 40's summer dress - or "a nightgown" as the 18th century people saw it. Er... This is what ordinary Scottish women were wearing at the time... No-one had any problems with that? Obviously.

Anyway, the lesson here is that you shouldn't let the rules stop you from telling a story. Write what you want to write and leave the "rules" to editing.

Now, if you want to produce a book you can be proud of, you should mind these rules, and let someone who knows more than you do to read your draft after you have edited it the best you can, to catch the worst mistakes.

Or laugh all the way to the bank and ignore the people who care about such details.


Helena said...

I'm afraid I haven't read any of the three writers you list. I can say that one friend is reading Shades of Grey and has complained that the three books could have easily been edited down into just one volume. But hey, she's still reading it and the author is now a multimillionaire and like you say laughing all the way to the bank.

The next novels I'll be self-publishing are historical, funny, and since I'm a fiend for historical and factual research they should hold up to scrutiny. And yes, I'll be proud of them. But that's no guarantee for success and sales, is it?

Ketutar said...

No, it doesn't... unfortunately :-(
Every now and then I wonder if which is better...
I don't like Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code either, but that too became an international best-seller too... *sigh*
But - I love Jonathan Livingstone Seagull and there are people who hate that, so I suppose... for each their own. :-)