Linda Maye Adams

Rule O: Own your story


Linda’s Rules of Writing

A squirrel sits on a stump.

No stories here. Can I have some chestnuts?

We’re onto the letter O in Linda’s Rules of Writing of the A to Z Challenge and Owning your story.

When I first decided that writing for publication was important, I immediately starting everyone my stories and asking them for their opinion.  I’d watch people as they read the stories, to see if they laughed in the right places.  When they made comments, I didn’t think about them.  I just figured that if they made comments, it was a call for action.

Somewhere along the way, the stories I was writing got lost because I wasn’t thinking about what I intended for the story.  Not everyone’s opinion is a call for action, and in fact, one of the people I relied on heavily for opinions wouldn’t have known fiction from a tree stump.

Own your story.  Your name is the one going on it.

Writerly Adventuring

It was a good thing I got skilled at filtering critiques.  Several years ago, I decided to write my book in omniscient viewpoint, not realizing I was evidently breaking a rule. About half a dozen writers jumped all over me for merely using the viewpoint and did not critique the story at all.  The result was this article Critiquing Omniscient Viewpoint, published in Vision: A Resource for Writers.  The story was not harmed by the critiques, though the writer was temporary bent out shape.


Caption: A to Z Challenge Logo

8 Comments

  1. I sometimes like the omniscient viewpoint although I am not skilled at writing it. I wrote a small book about the search for my husband’s family. Fortunately, the family liked it but I do know that it’s awful. I had lots of critiques, some good and some bad. It was a call to action that I will have to accept. In this case, I needed to be bent out of shape.

    http://completelycalifornia.blogspot.com/

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    • It takes a lot of practice doing omniscient. I ended up getting books I knew were omni and studying them to figure out how it was done. Bob Mayer has a good discussion on how to write it in his book The Writer’s Toolkit. Probably the only book I’ve seen actually discuss the viewpoint written by someone who writes in it. But there’s are a lot of bad examples and incorrect explanations on how to do it out there also.

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  2. K.Jacqleene

    Agreed. Be your own person.

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  3. If I have my name on it, I want it to reflect my thoughts and beliefs.

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  4. One of the most important epiphanies I ever received went something like this: “What other people think of your artistic endeavors is really none of your business. Your business to to make art.” That doesn’t mean editors and teachers aren’t absolutely necessary; but if you keep looking over your shoulder at your hypothetical intended audience, you not really focused on your art.

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    • Megan, that’s profound. Too many people get lost in seeking approval or permission to do what they’re doing.

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