Sunday, August 12

Rules I Hate!



There aren’t that many rules I dislike, really. Once you show me the reason for a rule, show how it’s one that keeps others from harm, improves lives, makes people laugh, and creates overall improvement, I’m your girl. I’ll not only follow that rule, I’ll encourage others to as well. Oh, crap, maybe there are a lot of rules I hate, so I’ll stick to the writing ones. Here’s my list—we’ve gotten very listy over here on the Wranglers, haven’t we?

1. POV. One per scene. No head-hopping. Okay, I can see where there shouldn’t be a half dozen in a scene and that we don’t need to see what every single character in the story is thinking, but I think multiple POVs add interest to a story.

2. Limit modifiers. But I like them! I like the color that can be added by using modifiers instead of creative nouns and verbs. My editor found where I’d used three –ly words in one sentence and was a little insistent that I change something. I did. But I liked the original. Sniff.

3. Heroes and heroines in romantic fiction are pre-middle-age.  How come?

How about you? What writing rules would you like to see broken?  


26 comments:

  1. I like a little head-hopping from time to time. I think it enriches the scene. I don't do it but I can't wait for the rules to change and I'm sure they will sooner or later.

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    1. Thanks for coming by, Lillian, and you're right--rules do change!

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  2. What does pre-middle age mean anyhow? I know pre-teens like to read about teens. Thirty-ish women should want to read about forty-something women? If there are no books about the middle age set falling in love and the 50+ women do read romances, wouldn't this be a niche market?

    Speech tags-there are only certain ones I can use according to my publisher style sheet. I know too many takes away from the actual dialogue. It doesn't mean that I wouldn't like for the hero to growl certain words, or even have the heroine purr her reply. (You can see why they took them away from me.)

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    1. I think the ages keep changing, Morgan. I remember when no one was over 40 (including me), but I don't think that's true anymore. However, if you get much past that, the person becomes a heart-of-gold secondary character!

      I'm with you on speech tags--I get in lots of trouble over those. Just ask fellow Wrangler D'Ann Lindun!

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  3. LOL - A little head hopping when done right is fine. As long as the reader can tell whose head you're in! After all, if Nora Roberts can do it (and she does all the time) why can't we??? LOL

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    1. LOL. I think Nora gets (and has earned) special dispensation!

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  4. I'm pretty much a stickler for one POV per scene but, if done smoothly, I think an occassional switch is fine. Sometimes you just need that insight into what both characters are feeling.

    I'm really not a Deep POV writer or reader (love third) and that seems to be gaining a lot of steam. I would love to see that switch back to third.

    Interesting post!

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    1. I love READing deep POV, but I'm not good at writing it yet.

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  5. I'm definitely of 'the rules should be broken'...my least favorite? Hmmm...has to be the modifier one. I know modifiers can be used too much, but like you I like a little color in my writing...

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    1. :) Nice to know I'm not alone there! Thanks, Kristi.

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  6. I'd like to see the hero and heroine be older than twenty-five! :D I think there is depth and a deeper understanding of life that comes with age, and older characters could be much deeper and more interesting than the youthful ones, still figuring out the basics in life.

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  7. Me, too, Patty. Someone mentioned "niche market" and I wish someone would empower that particular niche. Soon!

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  8. I'm with you. I like a change in POV, especially when you need to have both H & H's POVs. I also like adverbs. They are there to modify verbs, so I don't get the whole no ly thing. I also like using words that someone may have to look up, as long as they go with the story. Lately, I've read that we shouldn't use "with a." Well, as far as I can see "with a" started being used more because ly wasn't. And there is the famous limiting the use of "was" and "had." I had the horrible experience of reading a book where the editor did that, and I'm here to say it was torture. With all these rules, soon we won't be able to write at all.

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    1. Even more, Ella, I'm afraid we'll all sound alike. I think this would be comfortable for some publishers, but I'd hate it for writers and readers.

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  9. I hate the "no prologue" rule. I've bought many books based on the prologue. Head hopping has never bothered me. Some of my fave books have head- hopping. I was surprised to find it was a no no when I started writing.

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  10. Hey ladies! I don't usually do much more than lurk on this site, but when I saw your subject matter I couldn't resist doing more than tuning in. I'm self-published so I probably break the rules more than most. When I write, I see scenes as real life acted out in my head and that's how I'd love my readers to see it, too. Judging by the feedback I'm getting, they do. How do you do that without changing POV's occasionally? If I figure out a way to do it without putting a cramp in the storytelling, I guess I'll do it.

    I'm 53...my youngest children are 31 (twins). I wouldn't even know how to write as a twenty-something and be believable. All my characters are early thirties to early forties. I even have a short story out there about fifty something year olds. It was fun to write about people my own age.

    My major rule breaker is no italics! I use them...probably too much in most opinions. I used them during phone conversations between characters. The dialogue of the person on the phone is always in italics...not the POV person. As a reader, I get confused during phone conversations in other books. I think I may have ADD or something, when it comes to that. lol! I think it's easier to follow. I also use it occasionally for deep thoughts to avoid tagging. Several of my books have cajun french words and phrases scattered throughout the story. I use italics for that also, along with a guide at either the front or back of the book to translate the words or phrases. I don't want people thinking these words are just typos, n'est pas? That being said, I've recently read an article where someone harshly criticized (gasp...a modifier in everyday language!)the use of italics, saying she considers it laziness on the author's part. Okay. As a result, I'm writing the current book with no italics.I've gone back and forth, comparing the two styles, and I see no change in my writing, just that it's easier for me to keep things straight in my head. I don't understand why they say it's more difficult to read in italics. But, hey, they're the experts, right?

    Anyway, this was a great post...keep it up!

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    1. I like italics, too, but not a LOT of them. I'll start skimming if they go one too long.

      Thanks for weighing in, Lori!

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  11. Great comments, ladies. I'm all for older heroines. Aren't rules subjective? A matter of perspective? Sometimes it comes down to editor preference. I agree with a lot of no-nos from a composition standpoint. Sometimes I know I use too many sentence fragments, but do we think or speak in complete sentences?

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    1. That's important, too, that in dialog, we SOUND like we're talking. Thanks, LoRee!

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  12. I guess my biggest pet peeve today is a grammar change from what I learned in school. It really goes against my grain to put the end-of-a-sentence period within the closed parenthesis or quotes. So much so, that I'll try to avoid having those at the end of a sentence. Don't understand why the change. Doesn't make sense.

    LoRee, I like fragments too. Had to redo several in my WIP. But I'm with you, that's usually how people speak.

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    1. I have more grammar problems than I ever thought I would!

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  13. Great post, Liz!
    I like to write people who are broken without hearing "you can't do that."

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    1. Hi, D. I like that, too, though my broken's almost always emotional rather than physical.

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  14. I think the middle-age rule is perplexing especially as baby-boomers have grown up. Maybe publishers think we want to look back when we reach a certain age instead of ahead??? I was so disappointed when Harlequin discontinued their "Next" line.

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