Writing just for our own enjoyment is different from writing for the enjoyment of others. Suddenly, we find we will have to follow some rules.
I wrote and published a short booklet ‘The Published Writer’, a practical guide to electronic publishing. Obviously, that wasn’t a fantasy novel. I had to take a different approach. First I wrote a bunch of articles. Once they were written I organized them into a particular order. Before I could publish the booklet on Amazon, I had to download their rules. Not on how to write the book, but how to get it into the right format so their program would accept it. When you work with other people you will have to follow some rules.
There are some publishing companies, if you want to publish with them they will dictate what you can write and how they want the story structured. You have to follow their formula. Some writers may not mind that; I do. Perhaps, if you strictly write for money, you will have no choice. I write for my own enjoyment, I write for the love of writing, and I want to entertain my readers. I want them to experience the world I create when they read the story, the way I enjoy writing it. That is only possible if I can put my heart into the story and if I can write it the way I feel it needs to be written. Not by formula but by intuition.
That is one of the reasons so many writers these days go the way of self-publishing their books. There is one drawback to self-publishing. If a writer doesn’t have a good command of the English language, (or the language of their country), the quality of the work may be lacking. As long as a writer writes for his/her own pleasure it doesn’t matter if words are misspelled, sentences structured wrongly, inconsistencies in the story, etc., but the moment a book is published for the world to see, then it is a must to publish only polished material. Then it is most important to follow at least the basic rules of writing. Most people, that includes readers, are somewhat rigid in their ways. They want to see order and established procedures. Anything else and they may not finish reading the novel.
You don’t need to edit your novel when you write for yourself. Once you’re done, you can move on to the next project. Not so if you want to have your creation published. When the story is finished the real work begins. Unless you are nearly perfect in the command of your language, you need to have someone else edit it. No matter how often you read your manuscript, mistakes will still be overlooked. Of course, that also happens if you have your story edited by a professional. Editors are humans, too. They make mistakes like everyone else, but it is always a good idea to have another mind look at what you created. Sometimes we don’t see certain things, not just spelling mistakes. Inconsistencies can pop up easily. There are many ways mistakes can creep in; even it is just the misspelling of the main character’s name. It happened to me. It happens to everyone. I will write more on that in a later article.
More next time