We Don’t Need No Stinking Rules

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.

W. Somerset Maugham

That’s a nice, and accurate quote. But the truth is, I’m not sure I’ve ever read anything by W. Somerset Maugham.

If you have, and if you care to share, post some suggestions of his work in the comments below.

But about those rules. I get it.

There are dozens, if not hundreds of people out there that will tell you they have the formula to help you write your book in 48 hours, or a week, or 30 days or…fill in the blank…you can find them all.

Of course to do that, you have to buy their fail-safe program for the low, low price of $595, only available today.

We won’t even talk about the offers that say “sign up today for $500 off the price.”

If you’re a long time reader (and you certainly should be), you know that’s a pet peeve of mine.

I’m not saying that all of these “teachers” or “experts” are bad at what they do. It’s just that most of them are just gaining their success by selling their programs.

I’m not buying. I’m just not.

I will admit that a few months back I bought a course in voiceover acting. I’m still working my way through

Mug Shots

the course. The more I learn, the more I wonder if that’s something I really want to do because the next step is an investment in equipment.

Having said all of that, the course is legitimate. It doesn’t promise overnight success. But, at the end, it does promise that I’ll know how to purse a career in voice acting. It should also help me decide whether or not voice acting is something I want to pursue.

And no, you may not go back to yesterday’s comments about eliminating things from my life.

The thing about writing my novel(s) is that I have all of the tools I need. I have the writing tools and programs that will help me outline the book.

I have all the research I need right at my fingertips.

Speaking of which, if I should pass unexpectedly, please come and clear my cache.

I don’t know that there really are rules for writing a novel. Every writer is different. Every writer approaches the keyboard differently.

Margaret Mitchell and Harper Lee, for example, each had one major work. Sure, Lee followed up with a sequel many years later, but she’ll always be known for To Kill a Mockingbird.

Other writers, like Stephen King and John Grisham, crank out new books like crazy and seem to have figured out what the public wants.

I’m not there yet. Nor am I a full-time novelist. I’m a bit of a weekend warrior when it comes to writing. I’m trying to change that.

My novel(s) may never make a bestseller list, or be made in to a TV mini series.

What it(they) will be is finished.

Just as soon as I figure out the rules for making that happen.


American singer and actress, Rosemary Clooney, was born on this day in 1928 (died 2002)


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