So you can read my books

Monday, February 20, 2012




in your book. Press the limits, push the boundaries of what you think will work, then make it work somehow.

Aren't you as a reader tired of seeing the same old thing :

shy girl goes to new school and meets a hot bad boy who turns out to be :

a werewolf, a vampire, a cross-dressing son of a mad scientist (caught you with that last one, didn't I?)

How about a tiger named Hobbes who imagines his human boy doll is alive and talks to him?

Spin the expected on its ear. You will snare bored readers, making them your loyal fans.

You can't go beyond yourself. No matter how strange your twist ... shadows who live and breathe, casting people behind them as they walk in the sun. No matter your idea, it will still have the stamp of your personality, your style of writing.

Be open to any whim drifting from your unconscious. To create means to think beyond the limits we have placed upon our muse. The mind has no boundaries. The imagination is the key to infinity ...

and to bestsellers.

A persecuted boy cracks. He climbs to the top of the school with a rifle and the school's yearbook. He starts shooting.

His persecutors? No. He shoots every nice person he knows. Why?

To spare them the hurt he knows is waiting for them as it waited for him.


Break the rules. The shy girl falls in love with the vampire. His love for her turns him human. Now, his coven is out to turn them both!

Extreme is good.

The vampire was confident and kind. As a human he is sullen and snotty. The girl wants him to be a vampire again even if it means the death of innocents.

Her shyness hid her selfishness. The vampire realizes what a monster she would turn into if she becomes a vampire. He kills them both ...

as a gesture of the last remnants of his kindness.

The only rule :

everything in your novel must serve a purpose, down to the painting of the dying swan on the girl's bedroom wall.

It is what he looks at as he smothers the girl he loves. He sees not the monster she has become but the lovely, shy swan he thought her to be when he first saw her.

Everything in your novel must do double-duty.

The murder of the girl. The painting of the dying swan. Even going to the prom. The surface meaning. The meaning behind the character doing it.

Have we moved beyond the rules, beyond the boundaries of what you think possible?
Choose your side!


  1. Another inspiring post! I like to read your blog before I start writing in the morning, because it makes me think in a different way! :D

  2. I tell ya, have an incredible sense of pacing. Your words are inspiring and encouraging to all of us wanting to achieve our writing dreams. Thank you for your words! Keep at it, you're an inspiration!

  3. I agree with you. One of my best writing teachers said it was the writers' job to wake people up, to shock them. He said "Paint with the rough brush of your senses, and write from just beyond what you know, but intuit."

  4. Kyra :
    That means a lot to me! I pray your writing takes off with wings. You made my morning, Roland

    Gail :
    Thanks for following. I tried to return the favor, but Blogger is acting up on me! Please download the free app, KINDLE FOR PC, so that you download my free gift and perhaps win that Robert Downey Jr. Autograph!!

    Jack :
    Your kind words inspire me to be better! I hope you download my free gift and do a review so that you can have a chance to win that autograph, too!

    Catherine :
    Sounds like you had a great and wise teacher. Like him and you, I believe we succeed as writers when we jar a reader into thinking, "I never saw it that way before!" Have a great day, Roland

  5. This is what I try to do with my work, but I don't know if I succeed quite as well as you do. You are a masterful storyteller, Roland.

  6. What a great post with such an important point! I think that writers can break out of the same old tropes with a unique voice too, and you definitely have that. Very inspiring!

  7. Christi :
    From what I have read of your prose on your blog, you do succeed ... in your way (as Ernest Hemingway urged young writers.) Thank you for the kind words.

    Adrienne :
    I am inspired to keep on by your gracious comment. Your blog is insightful and delightful as well, Roland

  8. I'm still making adjustments on the outline for my third and final book, trying to do something unique and different, trying for something more radical.

  9. Hi there, I'm stopping by from the Campaign! We're both in the YA and Fantasy groups.

    I love this post, challenging the norms that have been established in fiction is exactly what we have to do now. I'll be coming back and reading this again and again, I think :)

  10. Alex :
    Final? Say it isn't so. Are you going to stop writing completely? There are so many different tales spinning in my head, I will probably never get to them all. So many love your writing. Reconsider, please.

    Like you, I am doing something a bit different with my 3rd Victor novel, making it a stand-alone novel, yet continuing the legend in hopefully a "novel" way.

    Thanks for visiting and commenting. And thank you very much for mentioning my blog and thinking of me as a friend! Roland

  11. Hello, Rebekah!
    My Platform entry will be tomorrow if I can find that pesky 25th hour in the day! Thank you so much for liking this post enough to consider coming back to it. Your words made a weary afternoon at work much better! Roland

  12. This post was helpful as writing advice given the encouraagement to push the boundaries, to try something new and give it your all. But your examples were so inspiring as well so the point you're making is crystal clear.

  13. Yes! I want to stand up and cheer for this post! No more cliques, there is no need for them. Unique is beautiful and we need to strive for it.

  14. Angela :
    Just racing off to a blood run, but I had to stop and say THANKS for such a gracious comment that made my evening!

    Heather :
    I want to stand up and cheer for you. You have a newsletter! Great. My blood runs have prevented me from reading. I am so busy I am a whirling dervish here at work. Thank you for your great words about my post, Roland

  15. I'm intrigued about THIS story: "a cross-dressing son of a mad scientist"


  16. You never fail to ignite creative thoughts with your posts, Roland. More than anyone, you make me want to be better than just good. Thank you.

  17. Award time:

  18. Trisha :
    Yes, I think the cross-dressing son of a mad scientist might just be the new hot hero of YA female urban fantasies! LOL. And thanks for the award. I'm still at work, so I'll be by later to check it out. But again -- THANKS!

    Angela M :
    And fantastic comments make me want to strive to write more helpful posts to deserve such praise! Thanks so much, Roland

  19. Hi Roland .. absolutely I stretch the boundaries that is for sure - always have done: haven't liked to be stereotyped .. on the other hand I haven't gone as far as I could have done - probably too conventional.

    However I'm learning from many of the bloggers out there .. can't quite get my head completely into vampires, gores and guns .. but ----

    Hope you're coping with the overload - look after yourself -cheers Hilary