Monday, July 14, 2014

bReaKInG THE ruLes of WriTinG, This wEek

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic /
bReaKinG THE  ruLes by J.Q. Rose

When I break the rules, an evil grin tips up the corners of my mouth and I want to laugh out loud like the evil laugh of actor Jack Nicholson.  I feel so wicked when I wantonly throw an empty ketchup bottle, not even rinsed out, into my kitchen waste basket instead of properly disposing of it in the recycle bin provided by Waste Management.

Have you ever actually walked IN to the Sam's Club exit door? It took me a bit to screw up the courage to do it because I thought alarms would sound and a huge woman in a security uniform all puffed up with authority would clasp me around the neck and throw me OUT through the exit door. But when I sashayed into the building, not showing my membership card by the way, nothing happened and that evil grin slid onto my face. I am here to report that I have blatantly repeated this rule breaking when I walked IN through many exit doors of lumber companies and big box stores with their gaping doorways marked specifically for entrance and exit, but not once has anyone thrown me out!

In writing there are rules to follow too. After reading several blogs by people-in-the-industry and experiencing input from my editors, I have gleaned some "rules" for contemporary authors of fiction to follow.

  • Set up the protagonist and her problem to overcome in the first chapter or second chapter. 
  • In romance, meet the main characters in the first chapters
  • Grab the reader with the first paragraph. No long narratives or descriptions to slow down the action
  • No head-hopping. The point of view of one character appears per scene or chapter as if that character is seeing everything through her video camera
  • Good spelling and grammar rules should be followed.

It's fun breaking the rules when I feel like it and then I wonder if the publisher/agent/editor would not take the manuscript I submitted because I actually broke the rules of grammar or formatting. I believe there is a rule about run-on sentences that may be the one I love to break the most because I don't think in my head with capital letters and periods or commas or question marks because my thoughts come so quickly and I have to get them down on paper. (Evil grin appearing now.)

How about you? What rules of writing can you add to my list? Do you break the rules of writing? What is your biggest rule breaker? I promise not to tell anyone if you fess up to it in the comment section below.....
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This Week:

Thursday, July 17--The series, How to Begin Recording Your Life Story, continues this Thursday.  Catch the first 3 parts in the series, then join in on Part 4 this Thursday. The links to the earlier parts of the series are below.
Part 1 What is memoir/life story, why record it, spark your memories
Part 2 Opening up your memories and organizing your story
Part 3 Editing and publishing


Anonymous said...

I had to chuckle about your going in the out door. I've done that several times at Walmart's and they have never once thrown me out! : )

J.Q. Rose said...

Wow, Susanne, we are such risk-takers! LOL..!!

Tess Grant said...

Fragments. :)

J.Q. Rose said...

Tess, oh yeah....

emaginette said...

I break a rule now and then and it is usually to make a point. I've never looked to see my expression, but I suspect I'm smiling too.

If you're interested I'm having a giveaway this week, please drop by if you're interested. :-)

Anna from Shout with Emaginette

J.Q. Rose said...

Hey Anna, Breaking the rule does get attention. Good idea. Thanks for the invite. Checking now.

Kim Van Sickler said...

Ha, ha. Even little thrills can give us that adrenalin surge! My example isn't a rule as much as a convention. In my debut novel, due out next month, I write from the POV of three different girls who are kidnapped and sold into the world of sex trafficking. I was advised by many different sources to write from only one POV, because it is easier to identify and follow one viewpoint, but doing so didn't convey the trafficking aspect I was after. I did work very hard on creating three distinct POV characters, and my readers so far say they have no trouble keeping the girls apart, so...we'll see who was right starting next month.

J.Q. Rose said...

Hi Kim, congrats on your upcoming release. Three POV's is quite a challenge. Did you name the chapter with the girl who is telling the story? The topic you are writing about is in the news and your book will bring even more awareness to how widespread it is and not just in third world countries. Thanks for leaving a comment.

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