When studying literature I am taught the story is not good unless the writer pays attention to craft. Every scene has a purpose and every character is placed for the good of the whole story. I am an avid reader; I am also a student studying the craft hoping that one day I can create a masterpiece worthy of reading. Every book I read the voice of my instructors appear in my thoughts. How was the character development? What is the climax in the story? A bunch a questions hit me all at once, when I’m finished assessing I can’t tell if I enjoyed the book or not. There are also books I come across when I read work from an inexperienced writer and I enjoy the book, with the exception of a few grammatical or formatting errors the book takes me hostage and releases me at the end of the last page.
I am not saying that craft has no place, I have read books from authors who use craft as an ingredient crafted masterfully to produce a satisfying reading delight. Their creativity is mostly showcased, using craft as a spice to enhance but not to overpower their literary dish.
My question to you my experienced writers “How do I know what rules I follow and what rules I can break when I study them all? Is there rules for each genre? Or am I doomed to figure out my personal style as a writer by winging it, using readers as test dummies to see what works? I know where imagination is concerned, there are no rules. How do I practice the craft without being a slave to the rules, or a rebel against all rules? Neither is a good place, I am trying to find my balance.
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