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Thursday, September 30, 2010

No Shoes Allowed?????

What's up with that? I don't think I like that rule. I'm sure they'd make an exception for me, right? One of the most frustrating things to me about the writing process is trying to follow all of the many rules. Some come naturally, but others require a lot of thought on my part. As I mentioned in a previous post, I taught two of my kids to drive over the summer. My sixteen-year-old got her license a month or so ago. I rode with her the other day, and despite the fact that her skills have improved, she still has one habitual problem: she's a fanatic when it comes to rules. Don't get me wrong; following the rules of the road is very important. But, what if following the rule is actually for the worse. For example, my daughter thinks she has to drive the speed limit no matter what. Sometimes, the car in front of her is going way slower, and still she tries to maintain the posted speed limit. In this case, isn't it better to break the rule and drive slower? Okay, so point is this: the rules of writing are very important, but sometimes, breaking them might be for the best. In other words, know the rules, but also know when and why to break them. Those are my Thursday Thoughts. What do you think? Should the rules of writing ever be broken? What's your favorite rule to break?

23 comments:

jbchicoine said...

I agree wholeheartedly! Sometimes, I'd like to go back and rewrite my novels based on all the rules I learned, and break most of them just to suit my own tastes! (and then self-publish because all the agents would get their shorts in a bunch over my first 5 pages!)

Carolyn V. said...

My son is learning to drive. It's a terrifying experience.
I agree sometimes the rules have to bend a little, we can't all sound the same in our writing and I've seen best sellers who have broken so many rules!

Patti said...

Rules are meant to be broken, isn't that how the saying goes. Maybe moderation in all things is a better cliche.

Kathryn Magendie said...

I know the rules, but I break them all the time. And frankly, some rules were made to be broken, or, there are so many different variations or interpretations of some rules, they beg to be broken! Breaking rules in fiction is a must for me - but, there are some rules I never or rarely break. Whatever makes the word stronger and more "real" works for me - convince your audience and you've done your job!

Karen Peterson said...

Um, unless you have different speed limit signs in your part of the country, posted speed limits are the maximum, not the minimum.

Anyway, absolutely. It's okay to break the rules. It's GOOD to break the rules. When it comes to writing. The most popular books and movies are usually the ones that throw the rule book out the window.

Tamika: said...

Like you said, I think the important thing is knowing the rules. Then when you need to deviate for any reason you can use good judgement.

Angela Ackerman said...

Swing by my blog? There's something there for you! :)

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

Bethany Mattingly said...

I agree, breaking rules is sometimes necessary. It also lets the creativity thrive. I read a book that had a lot, A LOT of uncomplete sentances. As in it just had two words and neither of which followed the rule of at lease one noun and verb per sentance. As a result though, I really feel like I got into the characters thoughs in a completely new way. TOTALLY worth breaking the rule.

K. M. Walton said...

I love small sentences that aren't actually sentences. A lot. See? Love.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

The way you tie your shoes to your post topics is always so creative!! :-)

Melissa said...

Great post! This is so true. We need to know the rules well enough that we understand when it is okay to break them. They aren't set in stone and we shouldn't behave like they are - we could be damaging ourselves

Stephanie said...

Yes, very true!!! I think sometimes the rules can limit us...and with any art form...you sometimes need to just let loose.

I do short sentences too...it can really accentuate a point. And I use adverbs on occasion...you can't axe all of them! And sometimes I tell instead of show...can't show everything little detail...sometimes you just need to get on with the story.

Dominique said...

I've since forgotten the name of the agent who posted the blog, but he compared writing rules to the Pirate's Code from Pirates of the Caribbean. As Barbosa says, "The Code is more like guidelines than actual rules."

Jade said...

I break rules left, right, and centre. Then my CPs tell me off. Sometimes I listen, sometimes I don't. Sometimes the crazy cannot be contained within rules.

Jessie Oliveros said...

Sometimes I think that if everyone followed all the rules all the time, all of our styles would be the same. We wouldn't be unique. I try to stick to the rules, but sometimes they don't always work.

The Book Nut said...

I want to know who decides that a rule is going to be a rule? I don't remember ever being asked my opinion on any rule out there! So if it's someone else's rule, why do I have to follow it! :) I wonder how many thousands of acres of rain forest we'd loose if someone tried to put all of the world's rules down on paper? For me the only rule I need is: "Love your neighbor as yourself" if I follow that, I'll never go wrong! The rest is just unimportant fluff! :)

By the way, my favorite rule to break is: "Act Your Age!"

You have a great blog here, I think I'll hang around! :)

Erica M. Chapman said...

Awesome post!

Yes, it is good to know when to not follow the rules. I'm not one for rules. I typically go 5-10 over... shhh. Well, not all the time. But if someone is going slow, I pass them.

I think that's why I write the way I do. If it stays true to my voice, then rules be damned ;o)

Great post!

Midlife Jobhunter said...

I believe a writer needs to learn the rules, so that you learn how to break them.

Riding with young drivers - ugh! Riding with my mother - worse.

Jude said...

Agreed. Knowing the rules is only so you can know how to break them WELL.

Stephanie Thornton said...

That's what I tell my students- you have to know the rules to know when it's OK to break them.

I love to write in fragments. A lot!

T. Anne said...

Oh yes, and sometimes that might be your best move yet. Breaking rules isn't what I'm all about, but on occasion I like to push my writing outside of the box. ;)

Jen Chandler said...

Yes, I agree that sometimes, the best thing to do is break the rules. BUT you must know WHY you're breaking them. I always enjoy reading about an author who made it by breaking the rules.

Name: Holly Bowne said...

I guess my favorite rule to break would be to "write what you know." I've found it's much better to "write what you can learn/figure out/make up!"