The First Rule of Write Club is: Be Entertaining

Here’s what another indie writer recently posted on a forum I read:
Starting off with a metaphor in the first paragraph of your first book? Metaphors are unacceptable for story telling. It’s the first rule of write-club.
You know what? That’s baloney, and I just had to say so.

My belief? Write what sells. I hate first person POV with a passion but if you can sell it, sell it. Fifty Shades is in first person, and EL James will burn in writer’s hell for it, but she will go rich and you can’t argue with success.

I know authors that break all the “rules” but they are selling books like hotcakes. We just have to admit to ourselves that the audience likes what the audience like and most of the time they don’t give a flying fig about so-called write club rules – as long as the author can pull it off, keeping it entertaining and immersive.

Actually the first rule of write club, from JA Konrath the Indie guru, is “Be Entertaining.” If you follow that rule, all else will fall into line.

What’s the point of dispensing with the New York liberal tradpub editor snobs if you just end up adopting their “rules”?

5 comments on “The First Rule of Write Club is: Be Entertaining

  1. nice post David – as long as people stick to basic grammar rules, “be entertaining” is about as constrained as it gets. I hate first person, present tense – but the top sellers of 2012 all strung this out entire novels – or even trilogies (50 Shades, Hunger Games) so who am I to talk!


  2. I love metaphors and think they are essential to story telling. Of course the story must be clearly communicated. That’s the “be entertaining” part. Maybe not everyone will notice or get metaphors but they should still be there. I find writing that does not contain metaphors childish and boring.

    I’m still undecided about the present tense style in writing. I’m reading a novel right now that uses it. It took some getting used to. I can see the author’s artistic reason for it, but it does make me feel like I’m being treated like a child. I’m not sure if I could happily write in present tense, but that does not mean it’s wrong to do.

    • Well said, Tracy. A good metaphor is like a fine wine, and a simile is a sunny day.

      Regarding present tense, yes, I think that’s why I don’t like it – it makes me feel like I’m being condescended to, or I’m listening to young teenagers talk. “So I go over to her and she’s like all, I go by his house and he’s not listening, fer sher!”

      Either that or I’m a prisoner in a pit. “It takes the lotion and rubs it on its body.” Ugh. Perfect in Silence of the Lambs, for artistic effect – but who talks that way?

  3. Pingback: The Can’t’s, Shan’t’s and Mustn’t’s of Writing | royal manaball

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