Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Are 'Formulas' or 'Secrets' to writing worth anything?

   Over the last couple of years, I've noticed a number of posts that claim to know the 'Formula', or have discovered the 'Secret' to writing a successful book, and or scenes. It seems a little pretentious to me when some of these posts are written by authors who haven't published a book yet. There are as many ways to write a successful scene as there are authors to write them. I believe that most writers are greatly influenced by the way scenes are described in their favorite work of fiction, or how they are presented in a favorite movie. Will everyone enjoy those scenes the same way you do? Probably not, but there will always be a number who do. Your style and voice are what's important, not whether you have followed some formula.
   Certainly, there are basic guidelines to follow if you plan to write a successful novel. A fantasy where the hero never reaches his/her goal, a mystery that is never solved, or a romance without any, probably won't do very well. You know the particular style of story you enjoy reading the most, so write that story. Odds are, a large number of other readers enjoy the same style. Don't worry about formulas, or secrets that were discovered hundreds of years ago.

   I do subscribe to several newsletters written by successful authors. Not because they claim to know a secret formula, but because they share some of the mistakes they made, and what works for them. Some of what they've learned works for me, and some does not. Maybe someday, when I'm rich and famous (ha ha), I'll be tempted to write a "My Secret to Success" post. If I do, please beat me on the head with an ugly stick, and send me to my room!

   Just some random thoughts for the week, so thanks for indulging the ramblings of an old man.

1 comment:

  1. I know exactly what you mean about the "formulas" people sometimes talk about. And I agree. *Prepares ugly stick* haha. Because you will be famous someday, if only for your words.