Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Guest Blog: Jack Regan says Rules, Schmules!

Let me begin by thanking Just Your Typical Book Blog for allowing me to appear as their guest for the day. I’d also like to say that I sincerely disagree with the title of said blog. It is not “typical,” but quite extraordinary and a cut above. But I love their modesty.

JYTBB: Awww, thanks Jack!)

I’m appearing here as part of a Virtual Book Tour celebrating the release of my new book, “T’Aragam,” the first in a new fantasy/adventure series for kids. The tour kicked off on July 17 and has been going strong since. You can find the entire schedule at the official website.

Now, if I may, I’d like to chat briefly about my very favorite subject, writing.

G.K. Chesterton once said, “I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice, and then going away and doing the exact opposite.”

I think he had a point. For every rule that exists about writing, there Isa writer somewhere who would do well to ignore it. Writing is such an intimate, personal thing that I find it arrogant to be dogmatic about the rules that govern it. And that’s just the point—you can’t govern writing and expect it to flourish. You can browbeat writing into a certain form,but usually to its detriment.

Writing, particularly in the early stages, must be free to find its own way, characters and narrative swirling together, sometimes contradicting, sprawling along the pages like splattered paint on a canvas. Ah, but see, I’ve just crossed myself. Even that is a rule in itself. For every writer who finds it easier to write with such freedom, there is another who must agonize over each word. Who am I to instruct them otherwise?

There’s certainly nothing wrong with searching for and giving out instruction. It’s vital, in fact. However, the teacher must impart knowledge with the understanding that it’s not gospel. And the student must learn to take what they need and leave the rest behind.

It took me a long time to learn this. One of my greatest joys is reading books about writing, hoping to hone my own craft, but there was a time when I would try to implement every piece of writing advice I received.Writing being what it is, these instructions often contradicted each other, leaving this poor novice at a loss. When I finally learned the lesson presented here, a burden lifted from my shoulders and my writing markedly improved. I was no longer trying to write like someone else…I was writing like me!

The bottom line is, there is no universal technique for anything in the world of writing – it is all relative. So while authors should search for help and guidance, and be open to constructive criticism, they should also critique the criticism and realize they alone are going to be responsible for their success. They are unique writers with unique talents and should strive to find their own voice on paper. And now, before I shoot off into cyberspace, I’d like to thank all of you for visiting and would encourage you to show your support of this fine blog by commenting, bookmarking, and visiting often!

JYTBB: We would like to thank Jack for stopping by for a guest post. Being writers ourselves, we really enjoyed this one. If you'd like to know more about Jack's book, don't forget to check out these links:

Official Website
Blog
Facebook Fan Page
Find it on Amazon
YouTube Channel

7 comments:

celi.a said...

Great encouragement for writers! Thanks for the guest post!

Jack W. Regan said...

And thank you for stopping by!

Jacob Nordby said...

I happen to know Jack W. Regan and he's a well-known scofflaw, rule-breaker. I shudder to think of trying to fence him in.

I'd rather chase down weasels with a butterfly net.

Jack W. Regan said...

Wow! An acquaintance who admits as much!

How about butterflies with a weasel net? Would that be worth it? Or is that not quite edgy enough?

Jacob Nordby said...

butterflies would be repelled by the weaselly odor, i fear.

ahem...I not only admit to knowing you...I hold out great hope that you are my meal ticket in the future. I have visions of a nice little doublewide and lots of shuffleboard all compliments of my famous author acquaintance (oh, in return for these goodies, I promise to burn all those compromising pictures of you, too...that's just a little bonus. not quid pro quo or nothing)

Jack W. Regan said...

The doublewide is yours. We may have to negotiate a bit on the shuffleboard. But you have to burn the pictures first. :0)

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