Breaking The Rules


As an author starting out, there is a ton of advice to consider. I’ve been reading blogs with different opinions on this one. Some say follow all the rules. Some say follow none of the rules – it’s your art, your creative process.

Here are my thoughts on “Do you have to follow the rules?”

Some of the rules (advice) include:

  • Don’t change point of view mid scene
  • Don’t open a scene with a character waking up
  • Eliminate/minimize adjectives
  • Don’t use names that are hard to pronounce
  • Etc.

My advice: learn the rules, use the rules, become an expert at the rules, and then break them to your heart’s content.

Being a master at something is tremendously satisfying and, I think, worth the effort.

6 thoughts on “Breaking The Rules

    1. Thanks Garry, Part of that is due to your endless help while you mentored me through the close-to-final draft of Burnt. Having some inside knowledge goes a long way to fixing things and getting it right before sending to my agent. It’s great that you help new authors find their way.


  1. I am amazed at how much this makes sense. I have heard people say that you need to learn the grammar and rhetorical rules first before you can break them and be more creative, but in your post you said it in a way that really relates to me. I have been struggling with motivation for my college classes recently, so this idea of mastering a skill really helps me persevere to learn the material. Once I master the skills of my major, journalism with a studio art emphasis, I can have more fun with it. Thank you!


  2. I agree that rules are an important part of writing, although I tend to break a lot of them when writing my first drafts, just to see what happens.
    When I go back to revise I learn why these rules are so important, because I can see in my own prose why something isn’t working.
    It’s a learning process. 🙂


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