Writer’s rules, generally, help the ease of reading for the reader, or deter cliché and predictability. I’m not so certain that readers care as much as publishers/editors think they do. Why else would you find so many clichés in the market?
I’ve discussed writer rules before, where you should learn them to understand when and how to break them, but those rules need to be weighed against common sense when you self publish.
For instance, ‘you should never start with the weather’ such as ‘it was a dark and stormy night’, but as a reader, I personally don’t care if a story starts with weather or not. It often leads to atmosphere and drama, especially if the storm is the cause to bring someone into a new situation. I’m not particularly aware of adverbs, unless they’re used excessively…with lots of ‘ly’. (see what I did there…using adverbs that end in ly?). Did you notice?
I bet you can pick up any number of books on your shelf and find plenty of examples where the author broke the rules. Stephanie Myer’s, Twilight, is rife with adverbs ending in ly, and she uses them to excess. She starts the first chapter describing the weather of Phoenix and the town of Forks. She sold millions, won awards, despite breaking the rules.
Break too many rules, and you may alienate your reader. Trying a new method of telling a story weighs against a reader willing to muck through a story, where the style, or Voice, or other element takes away from the plot and characters. Don’t ask for too much forgiveness from your readers.
What are your thoughts? With self published book, does this lower the quality of writing, provide new and interesting writers into the mix that may otherwise not jump into the public eye, or do you have other opinions? Post below.
Consider one of the ‘sins’ below and use a 10 minute ‘freewriting’ exercise to write idea for storyplots, characters, your own thoughts on the topic, or just a freeform pouring out of your brain monologue on the idea of sin.