Guest post: "The Rules (and Lack Thereof) of Writing," by Gabriel Valjan

Write what you know. Write what you don't know. Obey the laws of grammar and syntax. Break the rules of grammar and syntax. Speech is what you hear. Dialogue is what you imagine between fictional characters. A beat is time in the corner for the boxer to rest or time for the boxer to deliver the punch. Characters live and breathe by how they act, however flawed or noble they are, and not because someone tells you they do. Point of view is a camera; change the lens and you change what you see and whence you see it. Visual is in the mind and it is also white space on the page. Edit for copy, for structure, but always have someone else do it because you won't see it. Criticism is always constructive, never personal. Voice is yours and only yours, as unique as your fingertips, your earlobes, and your handwriting. As you can see, there are rules and there are no rules.

Writing is about creation and expression; it is a function of the intangible human spirit. The act of creative expression, be it oral or written, nearly always involves the person who is doing that creating through words to be sitting down. Spoken or written, the story is created from a seated position. Tell the story that you have inside you. You have no control over whether you’ll make money (or not), be famous or forever obscure. Read widely other authors and genres to see how they “work” and why what they did did work. Should you be fortunate to meet your readers, stay until you have met every last one of them. You’ll be the better person. Don’t compete with other writers. Somebody will always be better at something than you. Just be you. Respect the time your readers spend with you and be grateful that they chose to spend that precious time with you.

 Wasp's Nest, the second novel in the Roma series, will be out in late November 2012 from Winter Goose Publishing. A renegade accountant, hacker in hiding, Alabaster as Bianca is in Boston this time to investigate Nasonia Pharmaceutical for her former employer, Rendition, a covert government agency. She'll discover a conspiracy that spans two continents and learn that there's an assassin following her. Catch up with the Roma series if you like a strong female protagonist, food and culture, unique humor, and riveting suspense. Don’t miss this sequel to the first installment, Roma, Underground. The third installment in the series, Threading the Needle, will be out in summer 2013. The Roma series is available in trade paperback or in digital format at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Interested reviewers can request a copy through Net Galley.

Purchase THREADING THE NEEDLE on Amazon / B&N


Gabriel’s short stories and some of his poetry continue to appear in literary journals and online magazines. Ronan Bennett short-listed Gabriel for the 2010 Fish Prize. Gabriel won first prize in ZOUCH Magazine’s inaugural Lit Bits Contest. Winter Goose Publishing publishes his Roma Series: Roma, Underground (February 2012), Wasp’s Nest (November 2012) and Threading the Needle (October 2013). Gabriel lives in New England. 

Author’s Twitter: GValjan

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