Monday, August 31, 2009


When my niece was a pre-teen, she told me that she couldn't wait to grow up and be on her own because she wouldn't have to follow any rules. She'd be able to do just what she wanted. I laughed, patted her hand affectionately and informed her that rules would always be part of her life.

As you grow older the reasons for the rules change, but rules continue no matter how old you get. The biggest difference is when you become an adult the rules relate to larger choices and issues.

Which brings me to my blog topic - rules and/or guidelines for writers. As I told my niece, rules are part of life. For writers there are guidelines for most genres. Each line has specific requirements that writers must follow in order to get their books to the correct editor and hopefully not be rejected.

We all want to do our own thing. Enjoy life the way we see fit, but that's not always in the cards. As authors we want to tell our stories the way we choose and describe the situations the way we see them. Unfortunately, that's not always possible because most publishers have specific ways they want manuscripts written.

For example, romance novels must have a happy ending. Mysteries need the murder resolved and the killer unmasked, and suspense and thriller must tie all the loose ends together with an interesting ribbon.

If your goal is to get published, request the guidelines for the publishing house you're considering. Study them, treat them like a bible for getting published, and adhere to them. There's no guarantee that you'll get published, but you will be one step closer to your goal.

If you have comments or suggestions, please feel free to contact me. I'm always interested in what you think. I can be reached at

Please, don't be a stranger.


Jewel Amethyst said...

that is so true. Sometimes the guidelines are too rigid and really stifles the authors creativity. Maybe we need to create a subgenre called miscellaneous and have people write and publish without rules and guidelines.

Farrah Rochon said...

I think the rules of the genre are good in that it allows a reader to know what they're getting (i.e., I read romance because I want my happily ever after), but agree that sometimes those rules can be a bit too restricting. Good post, Karen!

Genella deGrey said...

I totally agree.

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