9 Writing Rules Worth Breaking

Rules.

There are just so many of them.

I don’t just mean rules in the writing world. I’m talking about house rules, school rules, work rules, industry rules… It literally feels like everywhere we turn there’s someone waiting to say…

Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand that boundaries are necessary (especially in the realm of writing). But, what if people just bent the rules occasionally? Wouldn’t we have more diversity in style, tone and content? When you’re searching for your own ‘voice’, you can’t always follow the rules. Sometimes, the desired effect can’t be reached by sticking to them.

So, I’m going against the grain. I say, why not break a few rules? Here are some to start with:

1. Start a Sentance With ‘And’.

Some people really can’t stand this but, as far as I’m aware, there aren’t any style or grammar guidelines that dictate: NEVER start a sentence with a conjunction. You won’t be banished into another realm. So, don’t worry about starting sentences with ‘and’, ‘but’, or any other conjunction.

2. Miss a Comma

I think that commas are one of the most overused punctuation marks out there. Whilst there are rules, people still use it subjectively. Some people use commas as an indication of a pause in the sentence.

If you are in doubt then remember to read it back to yourself.

3. Be Biased

You’re a person with an opinion. Chances are if you’ve taken the time to come up with an idea worth sharing with the world, your opinion will be valuable. While I don’t think that you should be forceful, you can’t always sit on the fence. Share your thoughts. They may help someone!

4. Tell Jokes (You Can Still be Taken Seriously)

I love jokes. I’m pretty certain that most people enjoy laughing. Last time I checked, a sense of humor has never altered my perception of a writer. In fact, if I read an article that can provide me with serious knowledge and make me laugh… I’m subscribing.

5. Use Cliches

I’ve always wondered why cliche is considered a bad thing. Surely, they’re just a set of universal truths? Don’t be afraid to be a bit cliche. After all, good ideas are often recycled.

6. Throw in a Dreaded Adverb

You can’t paint everyone (or in this case, every word) with the same brush. An entire group of words shouldn’t be trashed. They exist for a reason and should be used. If you want to encourage diversity & creativity in writing, you have to

7. Say ‘YES’ to Incomplete Sentences

This is a style choice. And if you like it…

Do it.

Yoy may not want to make it a regular habit, but it doesn’t hurt to try something new once in a while. It can add a bit of drama to your writing and allow you to emphasise a particular point.

8. Make it More Personal

When I say this, I mean don’t be afraid to omit yourself in the story. Telling stories enables us to build stronger relationships with one another. This will provide you with an opportunity to connect with the audience and become a person that they can relate to. Using ‘you’ really can turn content from an article into a conversation.

9. Choose Clarity Over Cleverness

Writing is all about communication. Using unnecessarily complicated language can really create distance between you and the reader. You could completely alienate them or, worse, fail to get your point across. Remember, once you hit the ‘publish’ button there’s no way to check whether they’ve understood. The key thing is to make sure that your message is understood — never forget that.

I hope that this has been helpful! If there are any rules that you think are worth breaking, please mention them in the comments section below.


Originally published at thelifeofaworkinggirl.com on August 23, 2015.