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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Breaking the Rules

PLEASE NOTE: I am running my first-ever contest. To learn more, click on the little blue "Contest" tag at right. Welcome!

Yesterday’s entry looked at my own ten rules for fiction writing and tomorrow’s ‘best of the web” edition takes you to a site from The Guardian that shows many well-known authors’ lists of rules. Today I want to look at times when I have broken the rules – successfully!

One early rule warned me never to start a fiction piece with dialogue. I’ve enjoyed breaking that one. RIDE THE RAINBOW HOME, the first in my Rainbow Rock series from Avalon, begins with an exclamation and RIGHT CLICK (2009 from Covenant Communications) starts in the middle of a conversation.

I’m especially pleased with the way I’m breaking that rule now. My work-in-progress MAGGIE RISING begins, “So, are you really a psychic?” Ah, the amazing swinging door that opening creates!

Although I taught grammar for many years, I occasionally use a fragment for emphasis. In the book I’m revising for print, A SECRET FAMILY RECIPE, my troubled character Stephanie remarks, “Time to play the role of the sane-and-happy daughter once again.” Aha.

Sometimes I start sentences with And or But, and occasionally I punctuate short phrases as sentences. Go figure.

Mostly I’m a rule follower, but rule-breaking has its place. As I often said to my students, knowing the rules gives you permission to break them – on rare and appropriate occasions. I like to believe I’m right.

What is your attitude toward rule-breaking in modern fiction? Share with us?

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