Kate started the chain this round, and she really threw me a curve ball here. The question she posed was running a loop in my head when I woke up at 3am this morning. Wow, I'm really going to have to use my brain !
What writing rules/advice - whether it was a matter of cannot or will not - have you broken?
I think I may have broken them all at one point or another and I have to say that I think everyone should break the rules at least once as well. Now, I'm not encouraging sloppy writing or disregarding the guidelines that everyone pretty much follows. But what I am saying is that you learn from your mistakes and if you don't break the rules, you won't know to follow them later.
Like Kate, I've written run-on sentences that were small paragraphs and no matter how many times I read them--they sounded just fine to me. I've thrown caution to the wind and infused my sentences with as many "ly" words as I could type, thinking that rather than violating a huge rule, I was spicing up an otherwise bland sentence. I've told and not shown, opting to shrink a large chunk of narrative into a Reader's Digest-sized bite of information. And I've violated POV so many times, I'm sure my crit partners were banging their foreheads against their keyboard.
But by breaking the rules, I became a better writer. I learned how to craft my run-ons into more manageable sentences. I've discovered that the occasional "ly" adverb is okay, as long as every sentence doesn't end in one. I know now that telling is fine in certain circumstances and the reader does not need to be led by the hand through every--little--detail. And I've discovered that violating the POV..... okay, it's NEVER alright to violate the POV, but like I said, breaking the rules taught me some valuable lessons.
My first novel is FULL of broken rules, and has been revised more times than I can count and is about to go back to the "crit pool". But what I learned from all those broken rules helped me with my new WIP and the result was a cleaner, tighter chunk of writing that needed less critique, less revision, and less work.
It's like I tell my volleyball team-- "This is how we learn." By making mistakes, violating rules, we become better players. We learn what does and does not work for our team and individual players. It's how we hone our skills and excute those skills to the best of our ability. And by testing the waters, the players know when it's okay to break form and go for the emergency dump. Or never, never under any circumstances, recieve a serve with one arm.
I say break the rules at least once! And then, once you've learned your lesson, you can decide whether you should break them again. Check out Sandra's post tomorrow to find out what rules she does... or doesn't break!