Tuesday, June 12, 2007


8:30 PM and 81 degrees. Looking at the world from between my feet. The beach was crowded and noisy. School is out for the summer.
That's OK.
The water was warm and the breeze full of flowery scent.
I can share.
After four weeks absence I see my home with new eyes. With an appreciation. I also realize there are perfectly wonderful places to live in other parts of the world.
Habitat compromise.
Warmth in exchange for Mountains. But I have my photographs.
Today I did an interview. It was liberating and gave me pause for thought.
What WAS my intention? Why DID I write my book? What DO I want my readers to understand and take away from my story?
I have another interview tomorrow. I tell myself to think carefully and remember the rules:

Have a clear idea of how you want to be perceived. Rocks are everywhere so tread carefully.
Sometimes waves come unexpectedly so be prepare for the question that catches you off guard.
Some risk is good but leaping into the unknown can be tricky.
Rules are there for our safety.
Know when they ought to be broken.
Just like those pesky writing rules:
No adverbs. Third person POV. No head hopping. Avoid present tense.
You know the ones I mean.
They are just begging to be challenged.
Just begging.
I for one plan to break one or two tomorrow.
On purpose.
How about you?
Are you a rule breaker?
Are you a risk taker?


Therese said...

Excellent post, and well timed as I'm doing an interview this week myself.

I do like to break the rules, I admit it. My mottos are "Who says?" and "Find a way."

Heidi the Hick said...

I have to break rules. I start to itch if I don't.

My husband's been interviewed a couple of times for music biz magazines and really got bit in the butt for it. You really have to watch your mouth when it's going to print. Never say too much or say something you don't want to hang around long. Blogging is like that too though. This stuff sticks around and we never know where on the internet it'll pop up!

But I can't shut up. Pat I look forward to seeing what rule you'll break next!!

Adrienne said...

I do break rules, writing rules that is. I have never considered myself much of a rule breaker in life though, if I shouldn't dive somewhere, then by golly I won't. And yet . . . and yet there are some rules in life that need to be broken. Especially social ones. I think if I find a rule illogical, then I am perfectly comfortable with breaking it.

By the way Pat, I have finally sent you an ARC in the mail. I hope it gets to you before you fly off to NY, but I can't say for sure!

Kim Stagliano said...

Pat, I was so ignorant of the rules when I began my book that I didn't even know what I was breaking or not. Small mercies.

I submitted a piece to Huffington Today that is sure to generate a nasty backlash from some folks. I take a risk every time I talk about "my world." It doesn't feel overly scary because I do it for my kids.

A boat in the harbor stays safe, but in the time bottom rots out. Or something like that. You're the boat lady. You tell me.

Lisa R said...

I think part of being creative is to take risks and I try to every chance I get. I LOVE breaking rules -- when it doesn't hurt anyone else that is. Great post and I'm glad your interview went well.

Holly Kennedy said...

I've never been much of
a conformist and tend to
follow my instincts when it
comes to writing, other than
some of the more basic, hard
and fast writing rules that
would show glaring amatuerism (sp?!)

Dawn said...

Timely post for me because, like Therese, I'm doing interviews over the next few weeks. Already I'm wondering if I might have said to much. I do waffle on at times. Maybe not to a reporter next time! Article out tomorrow so we will see!

I don't care too much about the rules in writing other than the very basic ones that keep it readable! If it works, if the reader understands you in the way that you wanted - do it!

ORION said...

My editor just emailed me and told me I have to not break the adverb rule!
(OKay Okay. Sniff.)

Kimber An said...

It's too boring to abide by all the rules of writing! Why bother writing at all if you can't kick it up a notch?

Therese said...

Pat, adverbs are very useful when used sparingly/purposefully. :)

My LOTTERY ARC arrived today, btw, and my agent called me to say she loves my wip--so a very good day altogether!

Travis Erwin said...

Thanks for sharing your dive into the publishing waters with us.

Someday when I get to the point you are at now, I'll feel much better about taking that leap.

Gay said...

I'm not much of a rule breaker. Not much. I like to throw sentence fragments in occasionally for emphasis, but that's about it. (Or maybe throw in a scene that's fun, maybe enriches the mind/setting but does not--gasp!--advance the plot. If I do, though, I keep it short).

I'm reading a Nora Roberts trilogy right now, though... studying it, really. I'm debating whether or not a character of mine gets to have sex or only gets to think (really hard) about it, based on who she is, how she's behaved to that point, and writing that type of thing scares the you-know-what out of me. A friend suggested that I read NR, said she writes it well, and keeps a plot going, too. Well, I don't know so much about the latter (it seems a bit simple so far but NR does describe scenery beautifully and her characters never walk or look... she has much better ways of saying things).

What amazes me, though, is even in the non-steamy scenes, you can head jump two or three times in a single paragraph. And she gets away with it! How many novels has she had that were bestsellers? About a bazillion? And--I find it doesn't even annoy me when she does it. If I hadn't been so sensitized, I probably wouldn't even notice.

Go figure.

LadyBronco said...

Pat -
I just finished reading the ARC of Lottery I bought on eBay.

What a fantastic story.

I even cried at the end.


Demon Hunter said...

I agree with Kim, I broke rules before I knew what they were. And now that I know what they are, I break them intentionally! :*)

Anissa said...

There are rules?!!

Wendy Roberts said...

I've got an adverb addiction myself, Pat LOL.

Yup, I'm a rule breaker. This biz brings it out in you!

Steve Malley said...

My name is Steve and I'm an adverbaholc.

I've been twelve days now without adverbs, still taking it one day at a time... :)

Kanani said...

There's an excellent interview on Charlie Rose with Stanley Crouch and some other writers. They point out that the best interviewers are the ones that come with no pre-set agenda. When we started the Writerly Pause, we decided to stick with this organic approach. So far, it seems to be working. Writers love talking to us.

On the other hand, I also write for print magazines. The difficulty is that the interview has to be tailored for the publication. So there has to be more structure, which can sometimes lead to boilerplate --so one has to be selective in what they ask.

And the challenge for the interviewee is to not risk being repetitive. But it's hard, because they'll always ask you generally the same questions.

Oh well.
This fall, my friends and I are having a party. We're hiring a pianist. We're going to stand around a baby grand and belt out tunes... and we hope you will be with us on your way through LA.

The Anti-Wife said...

I'm a rule follower in my professional life and a rule breaker in my personal life. Schizophrenia can be fun!

The Anti-Wife said...

And, I'm definitely a risk taker!