Chapter Eight The Most Important Chapter in this Book

This is not only the most important chapter in this book, but the shortest as well. It consists of one piece of advice that no new writer can afford to ignore.

I have given you the rules and requirements of each modern category of fiction. In the chapter that follows this one, I'll discuss some writing techniques that are applicable to all the categories. When you've read all this, you can go out to the bookstore and purchase a dozen novels which, in some minor or major way, break one or more of these rules, fail to meet these requirements, and ignore some of these Dos and Don'ts. Writers break rules and still get published all the time. But these are writers who have published, for the most part, numerous other books: people who have learned all the rules, have proved that they can use them successfully time and again, and have therefore earned the right to break a tradition or two. Just as the abstract painter must first learn how to draw in realistic detail, so must the rule-breaking writer first learn how to write saleable material within the restrictions I've talked about. Your road to success in any genre will be shorter if you walk the known trail and leave the exploration of new territory for later.

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