September 19, 2013

clc - breaking the rules

Rules were made to be broken, baby.

Isn't that the kind of thing the bad boy heartthrob says to the prim and proper heroine who desperately needs to unwind in a romance novel? Well, imagine your novel is the uptight wench and you're the rake. You're on the scene to make life a little more interesting.

That's why we writers sometimes break the rules when we write. To be interesting. From shaking up common plot devices to totally botching grammar rules, we bend or break rules to progress the story and keep the readers engaged.

Tonight, on Chick Lit Chat, author Cat Lavoie will lead a discussion on the rules we writers like to break and how we do it.

One of my favorite rules to break when writing is overusing periods for emphasis. When. You. Write. Like. This. You create more emphasis on each word. You can practically imagine a person saying those words out loud, over-enunciating as he or she goes.

Along that same line, I also love writing sentence fragments. It adds a bit of underlying tension, because the reader knows -- consciously or subconsciously -- the sentence is too short and incomplete.

Probably the most common rule broken these days is starting a sentence with conjunctions, such as and/but/or. While this might bother some people (I've seen reviewers call out writers on this one) this has become a standard practice in journalism writing.

Fact: When I was a journalism student a few years ago, I was taught it was OK to start my sentences with conjunctions. Because the conjunction's function has kind of shifted gears. Conjunctions can connect thoughts from multiple sentences rather than phrases.

Crap. Now I'm going to have that song stuck in my head all day.

Chick Lit Chat begins at 8 p.m. EST/ 7 p.m. CDT on Twitter. Follow along with the conversation and participate in the discussion using #chicklitchat. See you there.

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  1. Great post. I also love to write fragment sentences! Word used to make me nuts trying to call me out on all my fragments. Screw you, Word!

  2. Thanks goodness I'm only watching this video now because I would have had the song in my head all day too!
    Great post, Laura! This is going to be a fun topic to chat about!! :)