The last blog chain topic was about sharing our own writerly advice, so for the current blog chain (that I have the honor of starting) I wanted to look at advice from the other side - as the receiver rather than the giver.
As writers I think we have a tendency to collect writing advice the same way other people do coins or baseball cards. It can be a quote from Hemingway, a link to an agent's blog, or a highlighted passage from Bird by Bird. Most of these rules we follow with the eagerness of the newly converted, grateful to have been brought into the light... but others we chafe against, and maybe even question their usefulness. So the question for this round is:
What writing rules/advice - whether it was a matter of cannot or will not - have you broken?
When it comes to cannot (To differentiate between the question of can or will go back to your grade school teacher who when you asked "Can I go to the bathroom?" would smartly reply, "I don't know. Are you physically able to?" At which point with a sigh you would answer, "May I?") - run-on sentences are the bane of my existence.
Over and over again I have written a sentence that has around fifty words, six commas, and maybe even a dash or two added in for some extra flavor. And even through several rounds of edits I will look at that sentence and my brain will assure me, "Yes, that is one sentence. Clearly." And I will be happy with this... until one of my lovely crit partners will point out a place where a period could oh so easily replace a comma, or maybe even two of them. I then look my one sentence, now made into two or three and my brain says, "Oooh, yeah. That works much better."
For some reason though it is just one of those things that I have trouble identifying on my own.
There are other rules though that I break more willfully. At the top of the list is the: Show, Don't Tell rule. I think, I mentioned a while ago my objections to this rule - which is that as writers it has been so pounded into our heads that we go through our manuscripts on seek and destroy missions for any instances of telling, when it actuality there are time when simply telling the reader some crucial bit of information in one quick sentence can be way more effective than using three pages to painstakingly show it.
Perhaps as writers we need to remember that as children our teachers had us present to ou classmates in a segment known as "Show and Tell" - with both of these components equal in importance.
The other "rule" that I object to - although I haven't personally had a chance to break this one yet - is the anti-prologue rhetoric out there. Personally, I love a book with a good prologue, and think they can be especially useful for setting the mood of a story.
Oooh, I feel so rebellious now with all this rule breaking.
So what about you? Have you thrown rocks through any of the writing rules lately? Or are there other ones that you struggle to keep, and yet fail despite your best efforts?
And to follow the rest of this chain check out Amanda's blog next!