Do you know all of the rules?

There are a lot of writing rules. Some good and some open to the writers interpretation.

Me? I think all rules are made to be broken. 

That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.

How boring would life be if everyone did everything in the same way? All shades of gray! Every story would read the same!

Individuality is what makes each story, each book and every writer unique and special.

Writing rules are like opinions. Everyone has one or more. But that doesn’t mean those ideas or rules are written on tablets brought down from Mount Sinai.


This  Latest Blog Post at is a great reminder to follow your heart.

The article written by gives us 5 pieces of advice to ignore. Of course, I’m sure there are more out there, but 5 is a good place to start.

  1. Weather? Okay!
  2. Dialogue? Get talking!
  3. Backstory? If needed, yes!
  4. Write What You Know? If you love it!
  5. Don’t Ever Follow Any Writing Advice? Only if you know everything!

This is a great post. Click on the link below to read the entire article.

Do you have a “rule” that needs breaking?

Know of a “rule” that is over done?

Do you think writers get caught up in too many rules?

Do share, I want to know. Leave me a comment or click the “write me” tab or contact me on Twitter @jeancogdell, Facebook at jean.cogdell and, stop by and say hey! The lights are on and I’m waiting.

Please remember to share this post with your Twitter  peeps and Facebook fans.

5 Pieces of Writing Advice You Should Ignore 


16 thoughts on “Do you know all of the rules?

  1. I’ve tried many of the “rules” I’ve read, mostly through the blogs I’ve subscribed to over the last few years. I’ve cut that list of subscriptions down by over half realizing that most of them are nothing but rules; and are rules that are way too nit-picky. I need other things from my fellow bloggers more, like support, comradeship, and, yes, distraction once in a while. I’ve gone back to the “rules” given to me by my 7th grade English teacher, Mr. Emery. He gave all of his students plenty of space to be creative without completely destroying the common-sense basics of the language.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Personal, I see rules as guidelines on how you can shape your own rules. You can break some and you can keep others that resonate with you. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you do what truly makes you a writer, whether or not you’re “breaking the rules.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. No, I can’t ride with this. The power of intentional rule-breaking rises from the author clearly demonstrating knowledge of the rules in the first place. Otherwise, rule-breaking looks simply like the writer doesn’t know better. I’ve had this disagreement with many authors over the years, and almost invariably the ones arguing the virtue of not following rules are those who clearly don’t know the rules. It’s easy to dismiss whatever is difficult to understand and master. The rules are those commonly accepted ways of communicating so we can achieve clarity both in presenting ideas (from meaning to narrative voice) and in understanding (hearing, etc.) those ideas as readers. My, what could be more iconoclastic (“unique,” according to this) than simply spelling all the words the way we think they should be spelled? Let’s use all the wrong homonyms and call that clever! Let’s drop in commas everywhere we take a breath and assume readers enjoy that even if it muddies the intricate meanings intended by those poorly constructed sentences! How grand would it be if readers liked being confused as a means toward simply deciding for themselves what the author is trying to say! Let’s find value in producing a torrent of bad writing that contributes to the next generation’s declining literacy! Regarding the argument that creative communication of ideas/stories/whatever within the framework of rules somehow leads to everybody writing the same thing–huh? I’m hoping that was a joke or at least hyperbole, not a seriously intended belief. Regarding the comment that rules are made to be broken–um, no. They can be broken, and sometimes ideas are rendered more effectively in ways that do break rules, but that depends on readers knowing those rules. Yes, the story comes first, but professional, talented, skilled writers learn how best to tell the story in ways literate readers understand clearly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not a joke but maybe a bit of a misunderstanding. I definitely was not referring to grammatical or sentence structure rules. Without those you are right, literacy would be a think of the past. No I was referring to “rules” written by a lot of advice bloggers that I believe should be described as guidelines or suggestions. Such as “never” open a story with dialogue or weather. Yet many great writers have done just that. Or another one, avoiding using adverbs. But adverbs have their place in our language. Yes, they can be overused and there are other words that can better express a sentiment. However, sometimes the adverb is the best word. Readers are a forgiving bunch, and for a great story will forgive much.


      1. Ah. The rest I’ve considered just advice, some of it excellent, most of it so-so, some of it bad. We need to judge the value of those “conventions” when deciding how much respect to afford them. Telling someone never to open with dialogue is just silly. However, advising that a good plot needs rising action (or some kind) and a climax near the end is sound advice. I’ve seen many novels fizzle for lack of good plot structuring, which of course depends on the kind of story (genre, etc.). So, for example, I don’t consider “Don’t open with dialogue” to be a rule, but rather just bad advice. However, “Don’t mix POV within the same scene” is excellent advice that should be followed carefully, as it facilitates the readers’ ease of understanding the story (and the author’s tools for telling it vividly). I could go on with examples of “rules” that are nothing more than bad advice, and “rules” that should be fundamental guiding principles in our writing. Thus, the notion that all these–good and bad–should be followed is just as invalid as the thesis here that “rules are made to be broken.” They are neither to be rejected nor followed, but rather evaluated carefully for their value and accorded only the respect they deserve. Thanks for the comments. I’m rarely an absolutist. Gray areas deserve careful consideration. Thanks, Jean!

        Liked by 1 person

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