After being penalized for a quickstep hold violation (and justifiably so), Shawn and Derek weren’t atop the leaderboard, but no one cared—to include the judges. The couple was lauded with praise by all three judges, and received the ultimate compliment: “That was by far the best dance we’ve ever seen on Dancing with the Stars.”So how can dancers be touted as the best ever by judges, yet not be ranked in the top two for the evening? Simple. The couple didn’t dance within the confines of the completion.
As writers, we too are often penalized for “breaking the rules.” You might have “the best novel ever” but if you don’t adhere to accepted norms (your hero/ine is not likeable, you write in present tense, you’re writing about a werewolf pope with seventeen mistresses, etc., etc., etc.) you might never get your foot into the publishing door.So what should you do? First, can you make minor adjustments to gain acceptability? If so, do it. Shawn and Derek could not have performed the best dance ever and stayed within the confines of the quickstep. Shawn’s gravity-defying, rule-breaking split leap was essential to the jaw-dropping performance. Did they take it out? Heck no. The couple chose to snub their noses at the rules. If you write outside the mainstream, you might have to do the same.
Shawn and Derek will no doubt get viewers to vote for them, despite the rules. As a writer, you’ll have to find your own champion, perhaps even self-publish.Will the DWTS rules be changed? Probably not. Rules usually exist for a good reason (although I’ll be the very last to defend the quickstep hold stipulations). The majority of dancers, and writers, need to follow the rules—for their own good. Perhaps it’s appropriate that only the very best are allowed to skirt convention. If your novel is truly great, sooner or later, someone will care and you will not only earn accolades, but get that novel published.
Until that happens, I offer the same advise you’ve heard time and time again. If you’re going to break the rules, but do it well.
Coming November 23rd from
the Wild Rose Press & AMAZON.COM
BLUE RIDGE FEAR