By: D.M. Miller
Originally I had planned to put the book, The Religion of the Heart, up for sale on Amazon this week but have been hemming and hawing about it. The proof arrived, and I’ve been going through it slowly, all the while reading other books in the genre, comparing them to mine, reading book reviews, reading advice on writers’ blogs and seeing how critical fellow writers can be.
There are writing rules, many of which I break. But is that necessarily a bad thing? To be honest, I don’t think so.
“Show, don’t tell!”
“Use descriptive language!”
“Don’t use too much dialog!”
“Don’t use ‘it is’ or ‘there is’!”
Another writer’s blog reminded me of these rules. Well, my very first sentence is, “It was late…”
Then I opened up a novel on one of my bookcases. It was written by a New York Times bestselling author, and guess how the first sentence begins: “It was…” Hmm…
Still, I began thinking I should scrap the whole thing and start over, even after three regular, everyday readers all told me they loved it and zipped through it quickly. In my book, the reader isn’t bogged down with flowery language. It’s mostly straight and to the point. Simple. There is some drama mixed in along with strong emotions, but hey, it’s IS a romance after all!
One of the best pieces of writing I’ve read in a long time is a 36-page mini-novella called, The Jewish Neighbor, by A.M. Khalifa. He actually got some bad reviews for his writing and for the “simplicity” of the storyline. Wow. I was floored when I saw those reviews. The writing is good, and the simplicity makes it all the more powerful. Must everything be written like classical literature? Isn’t popular fiction supposed to be for entertainment? It’s called “pleasure reading,” and novels shouldn’t be something we have to suffer through to make heads or tails out of the perfectly designed poetic prose.
Maybe the critics are too harsh, and I should follow my heart. The thing is, many books blend together because they follow the rules to a T and all sound the same. Love my work or hate it, but no one can accuse me of not having my own voice.
So I think it’s time to take the plunge. After putting my dreams on hold for two decades, I’ve got to stop being a perfectionist, accept the fact that my writing is different and publish this thing once and for all.
Now I’m shooting for the upcoming week. I’ll keep everyone posted!