Breaking the Rules

There are worlds within worlds at play here, and we call it fiction.

One of the things I loved about writing Corruptor and its sequels was the infinite amount of creativity I was able to use. To have “worlds within worlds within worlds” as a mantra leaves so many possibilities open for me as a writer. I could do anything – take characters anywhere – and it still be a plausible path to following the main plot line. To be able to show off my creativity and not break the rules was just amazing fun. It’s still, for me, the thing I’m most proud of for all of The Warp books.

That being said, I’ve been stuck while working on some Christian Cole stuff. Here, in Christian’s universe, there are strict rules to adhere to and, quite frankly, they’re slowing my progress. I mean, I know I created these rules, but sometimes they’re just impossible to follow when I have so many ideas that I’m restricted from using. It prohibits a writer, but you have to work through the blockage to figure out just how to bend your own rules without creating some dues ex machina situation that flies in the face of everything you’ve written.

That being said, sometimes you have to know when you’ve painted yourself into a corner from which there is no escape. One of the people who have done this in recent times is S.M. Stirling in his Dies the Fire series. Now, the premise is excellent: world mysteriously loses all electronic gadgets and everything goes to hell. Now, as the series has moved on, Stirling has been slowly painting himself into a corner with the mythology that has been brought in to replace the lost technology. He is – was – following his own rules. However, as we get further and further into the series, the more he’s had to incorporate to make things work. He’s been forced to introduce new characters, bizarre twists and (almost) break his own rules.

So have any of your favorite authors painted themselves into a corner, or committed the dread deus ex machina, or simply broke one of their own unwritten rules?

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