Friday 23 November 2012


I'm writing a novella at the moment called THE BOOK, set in the late 70s, early 80s. The book is a journal. And the whole story revolves around the relationship each of its characters have with 'the book'.

The mother, Penny, who always writes in it because she wants her daughter, Bonnie, to have it when she's older. The father, John, who wants to continue writing in it, but because he no longer lives with them, it makes things difficult. And Bonnie, who thinks the book is full of sadness because it always makes her mum cry, and the step dad, Ted, turn violent from jealousy. Bonnie wants to get rid of the book to protect her mum from its demons. But the book will end up bringing Bonnie's parents back together. That's the plan anyway. Who knows where it will take me as I write.

But there's a catch.

Penny and John's points of view are written in the form of their entries in the book only. And because they're separated, they've promised not to read each other's entries. The point of view of Bonnie is 1st person, present tense. So I'm writing like a 5-year-old girl would speak.

You know what is really interesting about this? The setup means I'm defying all the rules of the craft.

The journal entries are all just 'telling'. Bonnie's POV is young, so it's full of awkward grammar, repetition, plenty of redundancies, and words you couldn't even find in a mad hatter's dictionary. But it's how she speaks. And it's real.

And before you tell me a book like this isn't going to work, I'm going to tell you it is. It will be a project I will self-publish, so I don't need any agent/editor approval. And it will rip your little hearts out, folks. That's a promise.

Sometimes, we have to sacrifice the rules to make something real. This is one such case, and I'm damned excited.

Have you ever written anything that was 'technically wrong' on so many levels, but just knew it was right?


  1. Hi Jess - sounds excellent and you're obviously totally involved with it and excited by it .. I shall look forward to reading it in due course ..

    Cheers Hilary

  2. Rules are meant to be broken - absolutely and totally.

    As for don't tell... there's always circumstances and formats that embrace it and if the voices are strong - there is always a format to accomodate them and allow them to be authentic.

    There are a couple of stories I have edited where the narrator's voice has been overpowering and converting the format of the story has kept the narrators voice true but given it an avenue for the reader to connect with it, rather than to be chased away by it.

    Pipers Reach is just about all telling - that what you do in a letter. Just as you do in the book you've devised for your characters. To show would never make sense in this circumstance.

    Bah humbug to rules when you can innovate! Can't wait to read it.

  3. Good! Then i can't wait to read it! Have fun with it!

  4. Will be interesting to see how you put it all together! If it's working for you as you write it, go for it.

  5. Some of the best stories have come out of writers breaking the rules. Writing is an art form and, as far as I am concerned, there are no rules in art only exploration. Exploration can lead down a dark alley of ugliness or find a waterfall of pure magic but you don't know which until you go on the journey. Wow! I sound like a teacher on an after-school special. Sorry!

  6. I believe it will work! You don't have to convince me! :) That's the way a 5 year old should sound anyway!

  7. I love your courage and how you defy the odds. I have to also agree with you. Last year, I started a YA novel that was solely from the POV of the main character, written in her own thoughts and journal entries. I fell in love with her voice. Getting sidetracked with other projects, I've yet to finish exploring this story. I just might now.

  8. Yes, believe in yourself and your story. I think a tale like that would be gripping to any parent who cares about their children.

    Funny thing about it, Jessica, my older daughter asked me to write about my experiences in a 'Book' and detail coming to Canada, etc. But this is my POV. Writing from several POVs takes a sharp mind, and you have that.

    In my scifi, I have broken a few rules, but every now and then, someone had to do it. Bravo, I say!

  9. You gotta go where the story takes you.

  10. Is this the one burning up your keyboard? Sounds incredible.

  11. Sometimes taking a risk is the right thing to do.


  12. I believe I read on FB that you finished this in 3 days. Congrats!

  13. Congrats on finishing your rough draft. I say BREAK THE RULES. ;)

  14. WOO HOO!!! Rock on! I can't wait to read it. It sounds FANTASTIC! :o) <3


“I'm using my art to comment on what I see. You don't have to agree with it.” ~John Mellencamp

“Allowing an unimportant mistake to pass without comment is a wonderful social grace” ~Judith S. Marin

“I don't ever try to make a serious social comment.” ~Paul McCartney

“I'd make a comment at a meeting and nobody would even acknowledge me. Then some man would say the same thing and they'd all nod.” ~Charlotte Bunch

“Probably what my comment meant was that I don't care about the circumstances if I can tell the truth.” ~Sally Kirkland

“We're not going to pay attention to the silliness and the petty comments. And quite frankly, women have joined me in this effort, and so it's not about appearances. It's about effectiveness.” ~Katherine Harris