The Love Triangle blog tour stops with my Book Corner today and I've a fab guest post from Nic Tatano for you...
BREAKING RULES IS THE FUN PART OF THE WRITING PROCESSBy Nic Tatano
Pretty much every author has done one of those “writing process” posts detailing how a book comes together. Laptop or desktop, quiet or with music playing, outlining the plot or winging it. For me, the most important part of the process is breaking rules. Gotta color outside the lines.
And my favorite rule to destroy… breaking the fourth wall.
I’ve always loved it in the movies. Eddie Murphy in Trading Places, Ray Liotta in Goodfellas, Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone, the examples of actors talking directly to the audience is endless. And if you’ve been in the theater when that happens you know people get a kick out of it, even if it’s a simple look right into the camera.
So why is it so forbidden in fiction? And who made that rule? I don’t know, but maybe that’s why I enjoy doing it. However, what really made me like it even more was a rejection I got from an agent that went something like this:
“We really liked your writing and your story, but very concerned that you broke the fourth wall.”
Oh, the horror! I wondered if I should be cowering in fear under the bed waiting for the query police to break down my door, haul me down to the station and proceed to interrogate me under hot lights.
So let me get this straight. You liked the story. You liked the writing. But I broke a rule so you’re throwing it away. This is like a guy telling a woman, “You’re smart, beautiful, have a wonderful personality, are a great lover… but I’ve gotta break up with you because you like Celine Dion.”
Anyway, if you read one of my books, chances are good the main character will be talking to you. To me, it’s a cool way for you to get to know her on a more personal level.
Then there was the other “rule” I apparently violated. This one from an editor. Short but sweet.
What the… (you can finish the thought.) Oh, excuse me, I thought the idea was to sell books. Let me re-write this and add a five page description of a potted plant to make it more literary so it can sit on a shelf in a bookstore, collect dust and have a Cliff Notes edition come out because readers are bored out of their minds. Here come the query police again.
Then there are the rules of selling a book. Never send directly to a publisher. I did, and that’s how I got my book deal. In fact, I did a little experiment, sending queries directly to agents and editors. I got more responses, and personal responses from editors.
Oh, and those agents who were “not accepting submissions” and those who didn’t even have listings in those agent databases? I tracked them down. Almost all responded, some even requesting a read. But none wrote back telling me I’d broken a rule by submitting.
You’ve gotta think of it this way: if I dropped a gift wrapped box on your desk and told you there might be a bar of gold inside but there probably wasn’t, you’d still open the box. Same deal with agents and editors. There might be a best seller in that query. I’m betting they can’t resist taking a look.
So while I have a lot in common with many writers (drink too much coffee, chocoholic, love wine, have a cat) and do other things few writers probably do (listening to talk radio while writing) I try to make my books different by breaking so-called rules of fiction. The heroine might not meet her hero till chapter ten. But she’ll be talkin’ to ya along the way.
After all, you don’t want to read the same book every time, so why should all authors follow the same rules? Ah, I see you nodding, so you must agree.
Talk to you later…