Many writers draft an entire manuscript before learning the fundamentals of the art form.
When they come to me looking for editorial advice and discover their characters lack an arc, and/or the book’s theme is murky, and/or both their scenes and story as a whole lack structure, and/or the story doesn’t demonstrate clear causality, and/or any other of a number of common problems that can emerge in a first draft, they are often startled.
After all, no one becomes an artist because they want to follow rules.
And no one wants to write a story only to be told they are doing their art “wrong.”
But creative writing, like all art forms, has fundamentals.
Many writers see these fundamentals as “rules” limiting their creativity, and the question thus becomes:
Are there actually rules to writing and, if so, can you break them?
That’s the question we tackle in this episode of The Writing Coach podcast.
Listen to the episode or read the transcript below:
The Writing Coach Episode #139 Show Notes
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The Writing Coach Episode #139 Transcript
Hello, beloved listeners and welcome back to The Writing Coach podcast. It is your host as always writing coach Kevin T Johns here.
I am recording this episode Saturday afternoon. I got a good sleep last night. I’m feeling pumped, I’m feeling energized. And so are the kids. They’re in the background right now, screaming their heads off. You probably won’t be able to hear it, but if you do happen to hear children screaming maniacally in the background, that’s just the kids having fun. All is well. And no one has been injured or run over by a car or anything like that.
What I want to talk to you about today dear listener is the idea of following rules when it comes to the art and craft of writing.
Now, if you’ve listened to the last couple of episodes of the show, you might have heard me talk about my free program STORY PLAN INTENSIVE. This is a program all about helping people learn the fundamentals of story craft while simultaneously planning a rock-solid outline for their book. All in a month’s time.
It’s a great program. If you’d like to participate, head on over to my website and get signed up.
Here’s the thing though, as a writing coach, and especially as a one-on-one writing coach, most people don’t come to me the way they do via STORY PLAN INTENSIVE with the concept of saying, “Hey, I want to write a book. Where do I get started?” For my one-on-one people, most of them come to me with most of a manuscript completed, if not a completed manuscript. People spend months or years working on a first draft of a manuscript. They finish it. They look at it, and they say, “Huh,