If you try and figure out the rules about creative writing, you’re going to find that established authors and editors often disagree about nuances of the craft. There are, of course, some hard-and-fast rules about punctuation and grammar, but so many rules vary from genre to genre, generation to generation, audience to audience. Sometimes there are rules that boil down, simply, to consistency.
So you might even say that you have your own set of writing rules. Each and every author’s rules are slightly unique. That unique set of “rules” is part of what makes up your author’s voice.
So when are the appropriate times to break those rules, your own rules? They happen, don’t they? In my last post, I gave a list of filler words and overused words that you can consider cutting out of your writing to help sharpen it. But everything–even mediocre vocabulary, poor grammar, and repetitive structure–has a place in writing.
“DON’T INFO DUMP,” said every writing-advice-giver ever.
And that advice is so annoying, isn’t it? You’re going along, writing your first draft…or maybe you’re revising your old draft…whatever stage your in, if you’re trying to build a world in a well-paced, interesting story, then it can be difficult to find places for brief bouts of exposition and backstory.
It would be so much simpler to just have a paragraph or seven where you spout out all of the relative information in one go so you can get to the meat of the scene. Or maybe you could find a way to use your powerful brain waves to transfer all that information to your reader. Or…can information be absorbed intravenously?
I’ve had several in-narrative encounters and also questions regarding crazy, mad, off-their-rocker characters lately. I’ve also written one of my own. So I thought I’d talk about it a little. The reasoning can be anywhere from, “I thought it sounded fun,” to “I wanted them to be virtually unpredictable,” to “My plot needs them!”
But no matter your reasoning, your character is still a character. And even if you have fun writing crazy, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your reader will enjoy reading it if the character isn’t still fleshed out, three-dimensional, and motivated.
First, there is a difference between a chaotic character and an insane character. They can sometimes look the same on the outside though, so the differences really come out once you get into the character’s head. And when you’re writing them–especially if they’re a POV character–then you need to know what’s making them tick: their moral compass or their lack of sanity.