Part Two in the series.

In part one, I wrote about the million books that will be published in 2018, seven-hundred and fifty thousand of them self-published. The bad news? Competition, going up against the sheer volume of new novels. The good news? We can get a slim toe-hold in the marketplace. There are three things we can do: have a good story, have a worthy cover, and make sure the interior supports your work.

This part of the series is about step one in getting the story right.

We’re told to follow the rules. After all, writers spend years getting degrees in the fine art of writing literature, learning the arcane terms describing what a novel must have. They should have the following eight components: concept, plot, story spine, character arc, protagonist fatal flaw, antagonist fatal flaw, setting, and voice.

I’m not saying we should ignore the rules of writing, most are well tested. In addition to the eight mentioned above, we’re advised to know the end before we create a beginning. Each sentence should entice the reader to read the next, and so on.

It still comes down to you writing your story. How do you want to tell it? You may have a storyboard outlining your novel. It’s like a triptych, leading you from start to finish

I might choose to start writing and let the story develop as I go. I may have an idea of what the end of a story may look like, but willing to enjoy surprises in the journey. And sometimes surprised by the end.

Either way, it comes to a story we, as writers, must tell, bending the rules to fit the story.

When we get to the editing in an upcoming part of the series, you’ll spot the holes in your story that need fixing.

So, write, write, write, and then write. We’ll circle back to rules later.

I’m reminded of the first rule of planning battle in a war. The rules go out the window with the first shot.

If you’re ancient enough to remember the movie, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, I will paraphrase. “rules, I don’t need no stinking rules.”

Sure, we break the rules at our own peril, but I believe a writer’s chore is just write the damn story. Get to know your characters and turn them loose.

I do warn myself and offer the same warning to you. Beware. You may think the writer’s in charge. How often we learn it’s the characters who have the real story.,

Write down the bones, as Natalie Goldberg advises. The writing is easy, what comes next is the hard part.

Stay tuned for part three.

The dynamic author of 4 thrillers, Chuck’s an unapologetic wordsmith, and friends with many fictional characters. He’s the creator of the Matt Tremain thrillers series. You can find out more about his novels at Amazon Author Central as well as his website: www.chuckwaldron.com

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