Writing Tips

Writing Tip: LEARN writing rules so that you can BREAK them

Have you ever heard this saying before? It’s quite popular, even in the academic world where you would think we would never say such a thing.

The idea behind this is that we must first learn the rules of punctuation, active versus passive voice, proper syntax, points of view, use of adverbs, etc., before we break them.

You might be asking, “If I’m breaking the rules, then why is it necessary to learn them at all?”

When you break these writing rules, you don’t do it willy-nilly, you do it with a specific goal in mind. For instance, one common rule of writing is that the author never switches points of view. Consider the world-renown Harry Potter series which is primarily told from Harry’s point of view. However, it occasionally drifts away from Harry in these following scenes: the OPENING SCENE OF THE NOVEL (Harry’s only a baby so we get the Dursley’s point of view) and in Snape’s house as he makes the unbreakable vow (Harry isn’t there). This rule was broken because it was necessary for the story.

As you can see, sometimes rules must be broken; however, having the knowledge of the rules and why they’re important also plays a role in maintaining the quality of your work. These scenes were necessary in the Harry Potter series and therefore, Rowling broke the rule. However, knowing how important the rule is in the first place keeps Rowling in check for the majority of the novel and draws in readers with a consistent narrative.

Image result for j k rowling gif queen

*If you enjoyed today’s Writing Tip be sure to check out additional tips under the “Writing Tips” category on my home menu!

This is only one example of a rule that was well-broken. Can you think of others?

Happy Writing Everyone! Get out there and break some rules!!! (Intentionally of course)



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43 thoughts on “Writing Tip: LEARN writing rules so that you can BREAK them”

            1. Oh okay, so passive voice is when the subject of your sentence is not active, it is passive. For instance,
              “Katniss is used by the Capitol” (who is doing the using? The capitol is, but that is not explicit and the subject (the Capitol) is passive).
              “The Capitol uses Katniss. (The Capitol is clearly the subject doing the actiong)
              Is that helpful?


  1. I love your free lessons 😊 I’m old so I can break rules and blame it on my age, lol. After all, aren’t rules made to be broken? I like to ask questions, so who wrote all these rules? I’ve never taken any writings courses, so I’m curious where they come from. Help me?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Walt, I’m so glad you enjoy them!
      Haha well can I blame it on my youth? Lol. Most rules come from the academic world and work their way into fictional/non-fictional works. Most rules are created over long periods of time by what readers respond to more positively

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Elizabeth Bowen comes to mind for me when I read your post. I read a bit of “The Little Girls” by Bowen a while ago and it was so confusing, because you don’t get a description inside the characters head. Everything is mostly in dialogue.

    Liked by 2 people

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