Friday, December 16, 2011
Do RULES really exist?
In honor of a great blogfest ( CLICK HERE to check it out ) ... I'm re-posting a little-rant-item that originally saw the light of day over eighteen months ago on my blog. How do you feel about "being" verbs? Hmm? I wonder if I've grown as a writer since originally posting this ... LOL.
I've read on many agent blogs various reasons why debut novelists are rejected. One such blog led me to a list of "mistakes" new writers often make. I thought it was an awesome list. You can find it here:
The Ten Mistakes
So, after finding this list, I chose one item (number six on the list) and went through my first manuscript and worked to correct that "mistake."
The website explains, "Once your eye is attuned to the frequent use of the “to be” words – “am,” “is,” “are,” “was,” “were,” “be,” “being,” “been” and others – you’ll be appalled at how quickly they flatten prose and slow your pace to a crawl. The “to be” words represent the existence of things – “I am here. You are there.”"
Okay fine. I improved my manuscript.
I read a lot of books. And, at the time I was working on these revisions, I was reading the second Frankenstein book in Dean Koontz's series. So, I put his book to the test. I was shocked to read five pages before he used a single "being" verb. Shocked. But then, reading the third book in Koontz's series, my head exploded. There were "being" verbs in every sentence (exaggeration, obviously). I thought, what the heck? But, then I decided, well ... it is Dean Koontz, he can do whatever he wants. He's not trying to get an agent and publish a debut novel.
BUT THEN, I'm reading Beautiful Creatures by Garcia and Stohl which is a debut novel. There are five being verbs on the first page and twenty-one in the first chapter (not even two and a half pages long).
It's a New York Times bestseller and an international bestseller. Hmm.
So, not only did they use being verbs, but they also got an agent, got a publisher, and are selling a TON of books.
Great. Maybe I should go back through my manuscript and put all of the being verbs back in it.
Who is to say what the "rules" really are in writing a book? What's the trick? Is it just about story concept? I don't think so. I think it has to be a great story concept, and I think the writing needs to be above par.
What "rules" do you love/hate?
Do you even believe in RULES!?