When Can You Break The Rules In Writing?

If you’re a writer, you’ve probably come across conflicting philosophies on writing “rules”, especially if you’re ever sent your work out for feedback. Because, you probably got a mixed bag of suggestions. One reader’s favorite chapter of your book might be the one another reader suggests that you axe. Whether you’re a writer who strives to learn every writing rule, or you want to do your own thing in the name of creativity, this can be confusing.

So, how do you deal with feedback you’ve gotten from critique partners and editors, or even agents and publishers, when it all seems to conflict? Now, I’m not talking about grammar and spelling. Those are a given. Edit your work. But many of us become writers to express our creativity. The last thing you probably want is to be constrained by a set of guidelines, or be given a cookie-cutter formula for writing books. But you likely also want your books to get read. To be passed around. To be understood. Many of the writing rules out there can make your writing stronger, so that your readers will understand what you’re trying to say.
Of course, there are exceptions to just about every writing rule. So, how do you know if your book might be the exception?

When considering whether or not to break the rules with your work in progress, consider the following:

  • What Are Your Goals for Your Book?
  • Are you planning to self-publish?
  • Do you hope to publish traditionally?
  • Are you trying to write a bestseller, or are you writing for the pure enjoyment of it?

If you want to get the attention of an agent or traditional publisher, it’ll help you a lot to know the expectations in your genre or category.

Read the entire article in the MARCH Opal Writers’ Magazine
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Suzy Vadori is a Book Coach, Editor and is an award winning author.

One thought on “When Can You Break The Rules In Writing?

  1. I used to only follow rules, but have since started doing what I want to do because I’ve realised that for every writing rule out there, there are at least two successful authors who’ve made their living by breaking them. Great points here. Thanks for sharing!

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