Breaking Those “Writing Rules” and Video Games

coffee dateIt’s the end of August and that means it’s time for another coffee date! This month I received some very interesting questions from my readers 🙂 .

Lisa asks: What is one writing “rule” that you like to break?

To rephrase Barbossa from Pirates of the Caribbean, “The rules is more what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules.” If it moves the story along and engages the reader to the end, then I say you can pretty much do anything you want with your story However, that’s not the question. So what “rule” do I like to break? I’ll share two if you don’t mind ;).

Deep POV. For those of you who are going “deep what?” deep POV is where you go deep inside the third point of view of your character. I believe in showing things through the character’s experience. But there are times when the scene becomes really intense and I need to dial it back, so I choose not to use deep POV. It’s a personal preference. I think it’s also why I shy away from using first POV. I sometimes need some space between me and the story.

It’s like this: I can really get into a movie (if it’s good). But if I’m watching something scary, I like to watch with all the curtains drawn back on a sunny day so I can pull back from the intense scenes if I need to.

I’ll also sometimes “tell” the emotion if there’s already been of heart racing, gut clenching, sobbing, or however else you want to describe an emotion. Sometimes it helps to say that a fiery rage burned inside the man’s chest instead of a fire. But that’s just me, and if my editor insists, I’ll change it. I’m a good girl :).

I also like to use a lot of description at the beginning of a scene, kind of like setting the stage, then bringing the characters on and letting them do what they need to do for that scene. There are many different thoughts on description: use only a little bit and let the reader’s imagination do the rest, sprinkle it throughout the scene, or set the stage (like I do). I learned to do this with my first editor and when he explained the “why” for it, it totally made sense for me and I’ve been a description stage setter ever since.

And since we are on rule-breaking, I want to put in a word here for my friend and former editor’s new book. Jeff Gerke‘s The Irresistible Novel covers rule-breaking and why it is important to engage the reader first and foremost. Excellent material and great for both the beginner and advance writer (and recommended by David Farland!).

Excellent question, Lisa!

Laura asks: So I know you mentioned playing video games after Heir of Hope released and I want to know what’s your favorite video game or your top three (whatever is easier)?

I never really played video games until I was watching my husband play Age of Mythology years ago and decided I wanted to join him. Since then I have played almost everything from Mario and Zelda to more complex games like Oblivion/Skyrim and Dragon Age/Mass Effect to online MMORPG’s like World of Warcraft, Star Wars Old Republic, and The Elder Scrolls online.

However, as a writer, I limit my game playing to between books. There are only so many hours in a day and when I’m writing, it is split between my manuscript and my family. But when I write, “The End,” I usually take a couple weeks off to give my brain a break and forget everything I wrote so I can come back with a fresh pair of eyes. That’s when I break open the book or game I’ve been waiting to dive into.

So what are my favorite games? Hard question because I love so many! I love the Mario and Lego games because I can play it with my kids. I have loved Zelda since forever and have played almost every single game there is. For amazing world graphics, music, and story building, The Elder Scrolls are my favorite (Oblivion, Skyrim, and their online game). The Dragon Age series is a close second, with Dragon Age 3 vying for first place with The Elder Scrolls.

And I love online games because my husband plays them and I enjoy playing alongside him. I’ve played World of Warcraft on and off since The Burning Crusade and used to play as a raid tank healer until it started taking too much of my time. And I was there the first day The Elder Scrolls launched.

Lots of good memories! Thanks Laura 🙂

I’m always looking for questions for my coffee dates. Have a question? Leave it in the comments below or email me and I will be happy to answer it during my next coffee date post.

One thought on “Breaking Those “Writing Rules” and Video Games”

  1. My husband plays Age of Mythology too! And Age of Empires. I remember him telling me he had to do just one more thing on a school paper before bed when we were in college and then I would wake up to the “do do dooo” of a trumpet call at 2:00am and know that he was done studying. Now my 3 young sons play with him, it is their first computer game. So fun!

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