Success only flourishes in perseverance -- ceaseless, restless perseverance.
--Baron Manfred Von Richtofen

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Rules Are Made to be Broken

I can't think of one single rule of writing that can't be broken successfully. I'm sure you're aware of many examples. So, how do you know when you break the rules and when you can't?

I don't know.

But, I offer it as my opinion that we have to use our  

Writer's Intuition.

Do you believe there is such a thing? I do. I think we can know intuitively how the story were trying to tell can best be told. However, I also believe we are not born with writer's intuition. Well, maybe some people are, but it's not a prerequisite for becoming a writer. We have to develop it. How?

Read, read, read, read, read. Read the type of books you want to write. Get a feel for how words are put together. The more you read, the more the wonderful flow of language will become ingrained inside of you. This shouldn't be too hard. Writers are pretty much born readers.

And write. Write, write, write, write, write. You have to practice. It will take time to gain your own writer's intuition. But you will gain it. I believe that.

I'm going to do some more posts on using writer's intuition in every stage of the writing game, so stay tuned...

16 comments:

Stephanie McGee said...

Amen.

Anything that is a rule in writing can be broken.

Misha said...

I think writing rules are more guide lines than anything else.

But, as you said, we need intuition to know when to ignore the guide line.

logankstewart said...

Great post, and something I whole-heartedly believe in, especially with the English language.

Writing is a craft, and as long as the writer is writing "effectively," the rules of grammar are relegated to the guidelines of grammar.

Summer Ross said...

Writers intuition- I like it, sounds magical LOL. I'm looking forward to more posts on this. I think you have something here, almost like muscle memory, but instead its writing memory possibly? Great post!

Jan Markley said...

I'm always tuned to your blog Angie! The best advice I ever received was to learn the rules so that you can break them.

LTM said...

great post, Angie! And I think that's the secret benefit of reading and writing--developing that sixth sense. Thanks, :o) <3

Terry W. Ervin II said...

The author knows the story he/she wants to tell best--and there's nothing wrong when one goes with a gut feeling as opposed to 'conventional writing wisdom.'

Angie said...

I think it is magical, Summer. Thanks, Jan. You're right that we have to learn the rules before we can break them successfully. I try to go with my gut feelings, Terry. Thanks for the comments everyone!

ali said...

I used to not really know (REALLY know) how reading was a prerequisite to good writing. I mean, I knew you had to love books. I knew it was smart to read your own genre so you knew how it was "done".

But the best thing I learned from reading lots was HOW TO BREAK THE RULES.

And the book that blew my mind was THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX. I swear, up until that book, everything else had just been speculation or fairy tales. For that book just opened up a whole world of possibilities for me.

If I hadn't been reading a lot, I wouldn't have known how rules could be broken so beautifully.

Great post, Angie! I'm gonna look forward to reading about your writer's intuition!

AstonWest said...

Just finished reading a wildly popular book that breaks most of the "rules" -- trick is that most people read the story, and if it's engaging enough, they won't even notice all those broken rules.

Jessica Bell said...

This is so true. We have to listen to our gut! Rules are just there as a guideline. I think too many writers take them too seriously, actually.

Theresa Milstein said...

I like the idea of you having future posts about writer's tuition. And I like your advice here. The more we read, the better writers we become.

Rosslyn Elliott said...

Oh, this is a good topic! Looking forward to more of your thoughts on it...writer's intuition is a funny thing.

Angie said...

You're right, Todd. The story does have to be engaging. I hope my future posts on the topic are worthwhile. Thanks for reading and commenting, everyone!

Stacy Henrie said...

Great post! I like the idea that we develop our writer intuition as we go along, sort of similar to finding our writing voice.

L.T. Elliot said...

I have to mirror ali on this one because Jenna Fox was a book that taught me about rule breaking, too. It was also a book that taught me what I could do with emotion and honesty and rawness. Sometimes, rules have to be broken because it's just the best way to say it. =D