As I said in the beginning, there are no set rules when writing stories or poems, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any. What I mean is that there are no rigid rules, but we still have to follow a certain road, otherwise we’d end up with a jumble of words and sentences that may not make much sense. There has to be order in anything, even in writing.
Obviously, we need a beginning and an ending. The beginning should give the reader a taste of what’s to come, wet their appetite for more, and the end has to tie things up. Of course, we can end with some kind of a cliff-hanger, which is needed in a series, to entice the reader to buy our next book. But it is not a good idea to end a book in the middle of a scene to be carried on in the following book. Readers do want some closure.
As we grow in our writing, we will try to experiment with different styles and different procedures. We can do that, because there are no set rules that we have to follow.
When I write Science Fiction/Fantasy I usually don’t know where I’m headed with the story. I let the characters guide me, I let them follow the way they want to go on their adventure. I follow the story as it develops. Once I’m deep into the story I will begin to flesh out the characters, their backgrounds, and I will develop the environment in which the story takes place.
When I wrote the novelette ‘Outpost Epsilon’ I wanted to write a story about an outpost on a planet populated by dinosaurs. So that was the premise: a planet full of dinosaurs and an outpost, but I didn’t have a story. Then I created a guy by the name of Terrex Stonewall. I didn’t know who he was. For now he was just a name, who became a man, who was a scout in the Solar Union. He landed on the planet I called Epsilon to join other scouts who lived on the outpost. Their job was to watch for intruders into this alien solar system. And the story developed from there.
I had no idea at the time, that I would write a trilogy called ‘Lizard World’ three years later. Who knows, I might write another book or two that will take place in that same universe. I say ‘universe’, because in the process of writing the trilogy I had to create a whole universe filled with alien races, giving me new ideas for more stories. And that’s how novels are written. They may begin with an idea, a word, a sentence. One never knows what develops from there. All we need to do is give our imagination free reign and follow the adventure.
In my early days of writing I wrote strictly for my own amusement. I didn’t care much about political or moral correctness. I knew nobody would ever judge me about what I wrote, because nobody but me would ever read it. However, I did worry about correct spelling, grammar, and the correct meaning of the words I put on paper.
Once I began writing to be published, that did change. Even though I wrote stories with erotic content, I needed to be careful what I wrote and how I wrote it. I also needed to follow the rules of my publisher. When you write for the public, you must follow those rules. Certain subjects are taboo. Certain words may be taboo.
More next time