Break Some Rules!

All right, so you’re driving down the interstate and one guy’s going 40 mph, another’s pushing 90. You and the other legal beagles are doing 65, just like you’re supposed to. My question is this: do you pay any attention to those who are doing the right thing?

The answer is no.

You only notice the ones who are breaking the rules!

It’s the same with your writing.

You want to be technically perfect? Great. Maybe they’ll study you in high school English class someday. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lofty goal. But it’s the difference between educating your readers and entertaining them. You need to choose which works for you.

You might say, “There’s a reason you shouldn’t drive 40 or 90 on the interstate, John,” and I’ll say, “Of course there is. People could get hurt, even die from such recklessness.” And that’s why I’m not advocating dangerous driving. But let me ask you this: who’s gonna get hurt if you break a flippin’ writing rule once in awhile?

I get a lot of criticism from purists for my writing, but I can live with it, because English teachers aren’t my target audience. Not all English teachers. Just the cool ones. My newest novel, A Girl Like You, breaks a lot of rules. Especially in the last six pages. But my target audience will love that final chapter because they’ve come to expect certain rules to be broken in my writing, and they wouldn’t have it any other way. I have two people at a table in that final scene. But in my mind there are two extra chairs you don’t know about. And I’m doing all I can to put my guy readers in one of those chairs and the ladies in the other.

 Does it work? You Decide.

 Kindle Books – A Girl Like You – John Locke, author – 99 cents.

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About John Locke

The New York Times Best Selling Author Amazon Kindle Million Club Author John Locke has sold more than 1,000,000 eBooks by word of mouth! As an international best-selling author of ten books, every novel John Locke has written has made the Amazon/Kindle Best Seller’s List. Every seven seconds, twenty-four hours a day, a John Locke novel is downloaded somewhere in the world. Donovan Creed Series: Lethal People Lethal Experiment Saving Rachel Now & Then Wish List A Girl Like You Vegas Moon Emmett Love Westerns: Follow the Stone Don't Poke the Bear! How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months!
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11 Responses to Break Some Rules!

  1. Michelle Muto says:

    Thanks again, John. As a newbie, I’m stressing over every detail it seems.

  2. I love breaking rules, although I do strive to write as well as I can. I think, rather than grammatical perfection, a more reasonable goal is to write with clarity. At least with clear writing, editors get the idea and can tweak accordingly. Or, if you’re self-pubbed, readers still “get it.” Beautiful, clear language and a fabulous story with dynamic characters=perfect…to me 🙂

  3. Kendall Swan says:

    I agree with Rhiannon. Clarity trumps rules every time.

    And, hey, this is art, not science. It’s like “parley” in Pirates of the Caribbean– the ‘rules’ are really more like guidelines. Followed for the most part, but broken with necessary.

    But I have come to realize that regarding rules in general, a person either is comforted by them or pretty much rebels against them at every turn. I’m the latter and so therefore my comments must be taken with the proverbial grain of salt.

    Okay, I guess I can start ‘A Girl Like You’ tonight instead of ‘Wish List’. ; )

    Happy rule breaking everyone!

    Kendall Swan
    NAKED Parent Teacher Conference

    PS- not sure how to make my links turn out right here on wordpress (vs blogger). Apologies.

  4. John … I don’t bother too much with correct syntax, and get sent hell for it by uptight anal retentives. But picture correcting “To boldly go where no man has gone before.” Startrek just wouldn’t be the same.

    Jonathan Gunson
    PS. Re your casual mention of 27,000 downloads a day. That’s extraordinary. Are those downloads of your books?

  5. I had some really cool English teachers who always said, “You need to learn all these rules just so you can break them all later.” They’d probably have enjoyed the last six pages.

  6. Gary Ponzo says:

    John, my only thought would be, first you need to know the rules–then you can break them. That’s a hard distinction to explain, but when you’ve mastered the craft of writing like, say, you have, then you can afford to stretch the envelope a bit.
    I think knowledgable readers will be able to distinguish the difference between somone who’s unaware of the rules and someone who’s winking at you while they break them right in front of your face.

  7. Maryruth Barksdale says:

    “By Jove, I think you got it!”

  8. Jo Massino says:

    Yes, it works!

  9. Litl Bits says:

    If you are breaking the rules you are doing so with pi-nache! keep on keepin’ on!

    New to your books and I’m hooked!

  10. Pingback: What Value, the Editor! | The Write Stuff

  11. Jaime says:

    This is why I didn’t major in English in college like many writers tend to do. I’m an aspiring writer in my late twenties, and when I was a junior in high school I took a creative writing class. We had to do all sorts of boring things that didn’t interest me.

    I ended up getting a B in that class but I’ve never taken another creative writing class again. I did have to take 2 English Composition classes in college as they were part of the general education classes but that’s it.

    I ended up majoring in art and actually enjoyed those art classes and then wrote whatever I wanted after class without fear of breaking rules, lol. Even though I’m a writer I’ve never liked any English class mostly because it was always about doing it the teacher’s way.

    I always hated that but I didn’t let those teachers stop me from loving writing and creating stories. So yeah I definitely agree with you, in the end you have to do what you like and what you enjoy because if you don’t then your readers won’t either.

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