“The Only Law of Literature” by James Maxey


You already know how I feel about writerly rules. So when I read James Maxey’s “The Only Law of Literature,” I had to share it.

I want to quote the whole thing here. But I’ll resist and quote only the conclusion.

[In response to critiquing stories that don’t work for you] All the literary analysis of writing techniques, of style, of world building, of creating characters–it all has it’s place, but it’s almost completely useless as a guide to writing a good book. You are never going to be able to think or study or analyze your way into writing a book that people love.

There is only one law of good literature: Write what you’d love to read.

Not what you have read and loved. What you love, but haven’t yet read.

To quote myself from the Impish Idea thread:

Every thing you write should be a love story. Not a romance. But a story written because you loved it.

Follow your passion. Don’t worry about pleasing everyone. Fill your book with the stuff that makes your heart race and leave out the stuff that bores you. If you don’t make it into print, at least you’ll have a book you can look at with pride as being truly your own.

Once you’ve learned this secret, everything else falls into place.

Go read the whole post.

It’s important to learn craft. You cannot get away from it. But craft is only useful as a tool to tell this cool, wonderful, poignant, amazing thing we’ve invented and discovered.

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