I never ever thought of myself as a rebel, but others have called me that. I was also told that I wasn’t well adjusted by a Corporate Human Relations manager. I remember telling him that the problem wasn’t me; it was that my boss was an idiot, and I couldn’t allow myself to follow stupid rules. This seemed to come as a surprise to the HR department. I guess they figured anyone who graduated Magna Cum Laude in Engineering would be sufficiently institutionalized to carry out the corporate duty of generating revenues for the company so the CEO could get his thirty million a year or whatever.
Bottom line, F— that. Does that mean I’m a rebel? You decide. I kept quitting jobs with my middle finger in the air until one day I realized they were right; I wasn’t well adjusted, at least to a world of idiotic rules.
At some point, I quit changing jobs, and changed careers. I decided the only way to have independence is to be independent. I opened my own business, followed my own path, and held true to my own convictions of right and wrong. I grew my business, and sold it for enough money that I don’t have to work again unless I want to.
What’s this have to do with writing? I will tell you. I don’t write according to commercial guidelines because I don’t write with the goal of earning money. I write for the same reason I read. I love reading great stories. I want to write a great story. That may never happen, but one thing I’m sure of: It will damn sure never happen if I follow commercial guidelines. The great books I’ve read were not written as commercial projects. Few were successful at the time of their writing, and they were written by someone who didn’t really care if they were a commercial success. They were written by some lonely writer living in his own little world sharing his unique interpretation of the world. Often it was an interpretation that nobody else had come across, and sometimes one that the world wasn’t yet ready to accept as truth.
My conclusion: Trying to write to a commercial script is for someone whose goal of publication and commercial success outweighs his or her desire to write a great story. Thus, before I really started writing, I spent a good portion of my life attaining a position where I could write whatever the hell I wanted and not give one rip shit what anyone thinks about it.
Of course that’s easy to do in a blog, but in a novel? Yes, I think that’s how a novel should be written and that’s how I wrote mine. It’s not published as of yet, but the few who’ve read it believe it will be. I’m currently writing a sequel. I write to make people think, to challenge their belief systems and morals to the point of discomfort. Discomfort works well in fantasy because it’s easy to return to the real world. When discomfort pushes its way into the reality we live in, it’s not as palatable.
That’s the type of story I enjoy reading and writing. I don’t think it means I’m a rebel any more than the fact that following bullshit rules in some corporation seems like a waste of my time and energy. I hope you’ll do the same when you write your novel or short story, or whatever. Write it without caring about commercial formulas, current market conditions, or success. Dig deep, find your interpretation of the world, and write the story you have to tell from your heart. By the way, I don’t suggest quitting your job or flipping anybody off. Being rebellious doesn’t really lead anywhere; being maladjusted might.