Life is full of rules. There are people who refuse to conform to the basic rules, whether it’s for power or just to draw attention. There are social rules, rules in the work place, and rules to being published. I don’t often bend rules in writing because I believe the people who set them know more than I do. I’m comfortable with rules.
Years ago I read Stephen King’s book on writing. He believes novels consist of three parts: narration, which moves the story from point A to point B and finally to Z; description, that creates a sensory reality for the reader; and dialogue, which brings the characters to life for the reader. To quote King: “I believe plotting and the spontaneity of real creation aren’t compatible . . . that my basic belief about the making of stories is that they pretty much make themselves.” This may explain why I don’t, or can’t, outline. I have to trust I’ve written a decent story, created characters the reader wants to see more of, and tied up loose ends for a satisfying conclusion.
California is facing one of the most severe droughts on record. Brown is the new color of grass. Everyone has to learn to conserve water, inside and outside the home: build a water-wise garden; inside, rethink how we use water on a daily basis. It’s obvious who is breaking the rules to conserve water. On my street, beautiful green yards stand out among the brown ones. Stiff penalties will soon be enforced.
As a police volunteer, there are rules to follow. Whether it’s sitting on a panel interviewing new police officers, role-playing with SWAT, or stickering vehicles on the street, there is a code of behavior. As in any job, there are consequences to pay for not following their rules.
However, there are always exceptions:
I work in stained glass (when I’m not writing). I cut glass to fit the patterns ninety-five percent of the time, but sometimes pieces are too difficult to cut and I end up breaking the piece, again and again. I solve this problem by redesigning the piece. Then there’s cutting, grinding, foiling, and soldering. If not done right, the project grows beyond it’s intended space, which creates a problem if you’re working on a stained glass window with set dimensions. I’d like to write a crafty series that takes place in a stained glass studio but have yet to discover ways to hide clues in birdhouses or lamps. Suggestions?