In my last post I spoke about rules – that there are none worth mentioning apart from “is it working?”………… Does this work? Is your reader engaged from beginning to end? Are they hungry for more?
I still believe that is all that ultimately matters, however since writing that post I was reminded of some other kinds of rules that are worth considering. They come from the Science Fiction master, Robert Heinlein.
1. You must write
2. You must finish what you start
3. You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order
4. You must put your story on the market
5. You must keep it on the market until it has sold
By my experience, rules 2, 3 and 4 are most difficult for most people, though you may not suffer from failing at all three.
Rule number 2 can be applied to more people than I can count – including some graduates of quality writing programs. Do you have any idea how many drawers, boxes, attics, basements, garages and closets are filled with half-finished works?
Rule number 3 may be the rule that most writers have the hardest time keeping. No more rewriting. No more rearranging. Give it one good edit if you must, but then move on
Rule number 4 also applies to countless people. Put it out there already! And while you are waiting for an agent, editor or publisher to fall in love with it, go and write your next one.
For me, at the moment, I am having the most trouble with rule 5. A rejection or two and I drawer the thing. How about you?