Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Breaking the Rules

You may have discerned that I don't appreciate people telling me what I can and cannot do with regards to my writing.  (Not without some actual basis in fact, and even then, I'm skeptical until I do my own research.).  When I was a new writer, I railed against all the 'rules' regarding querying, etc.  I followed them, but it grated my butt.  I followed them because the gatekeepers* wouldn't have given me the time of day if I hadn't. 

Now?  Eh.  I do what I want.  I threw out the notion of going through a gate and climbed over the damn wall. 

I'm not sure readers really give a rat's ass about the rules writers are supposed to follow anyway.  Unless they've been listening to the traditional publishing machine.  For me, as a reader, anything goes as long as it's done well.  Want to start a book with a character waking up?  Go for it, but do it well.  Want to start with a dream?  Works for me, as long as it works.  Breaking the rules of grammar?  Fine by me, provided you do it in such a way that makes sense.  (Dialogue is awesome for breaking the rules, because people don't talk proper in most cases.)

Oh, I'm still bound by rules.  They're in the back of my head with everything I read and everything I write, and every time I find myself facing one, I stop and try to figure out whether the rule makes sense or whether I'm just following it because it's accepted by a bunch of people I don't know.  If it's the latter, I throw the damn thing out.  Or at least set it aside and look at it later. 

What are some books you think might've broken some unwritten rule, but that you enjoyed anyway?  I keep going back to a short story I read years ago, by Bradbury I think, that was written entirely in 2nd person.  It totally worked for me and I enjoyed it.  And that's really all that matters, right?

*Yeah, there are gatekeepers in traditional publishing.  But I don't think you're supposed to talk about them.  I'm such a rebel.  LOL


  1. You rule breaker you! Yeah...I've broken a few in my time. To me, it's all about the story. And what works. ;)

  2. Hooray for rule breakers! :-) I have a POV character who is defiantly ungrammatical, and all of her chapters use her non-grammar. The other POV is a brainiac, and he follows the rules down to the semicolon. LOL!

    I haven't read a 2nd person narrative that worked for me. That and present tense drives me nutty! ;-)