Friday, June 10, 2011

Blog Chain - Outlaw

This blog chain post is a little late, but this time around the amazing, wonderful Abby wants to know:

There are SO many writing rules, but sometimes we have to break one or two, just to keep things interesting. Is there a writing rule you’ve broken on purpose? Why did you choose to break it? And if you want to post a snippet of your writing as an example, even better!

I don't think I've ever broken anything on purpose.  I mean, when I've broken "rules," I've done so knowingly (most of the time) but I don't think writing "rules" should be broken just to break them.  If you're going to break then, it needs to be done for a reason.  However, I also use quotes around the word, because when it comes to writing, there are no rules.  We're all out here on the frontier.  A never ending plain that we're all making our way through.

That said, my favorite "rule" to break is the one about long stretches of dialog without any action our dialog tags.  I frequently go too far and have to edit it back, but sometimes that staccato back and forth is just begging for simplicity.  Sometimes description and dialog tags interrupt the flow.  Here's a short example of something I'm working on now:

"You want a ride?"

"To the party?"

"It's on my way."


Stella shook her head.  "Not really, but I was about to spend my entire Saturday night listening to ABBA and putting makeup on dead people."

"Ew," I said.

"I know.  My mom's a funeral director and I get roped into helping her with the bodies. It's not a calling but it puts gas in Stay Puft."  She pointed at her white car.

"The corpses are fine," I said.  "I was talking about ABBA."

That's just a little snippet.  There's stuff that happens before and stuff that happens after, but in this little bit, Stella and Simon's back and forth is interrupted as little as possible.  They've just met and are getting to know each other, and they've got such great chemistry, and I think their dialog in this bit shows that.

So yeah, that's the "rule" that I break most often.

IF you haven't already, head over to my wonderful friend Margie's blog to see what kind of rebel rule breaker she is, and the next, head over to Sarah's blog and see if she's up to breaking any rules...and wish her a congratulations on her brand new baby boy!


  1. "Stay Puft." I love your story piece even though that part reminds me forever of the Ghostbuster's movie.

    Dialogue rhythm is a great thing. But I can't break this rule. I need the tags.

  2. As long as people can follow who's speaking, then you can get away with breaking that rule--and it's another way of avoiding said-bookisms!


Keep it clean, keep it classy, and jokes are always appreciated.