There are many different writing or grammar rules.
The rule of three is a very handy writing tip which you may not even realise you’re using. Sometimes it will simply come naturally.
Have a look at Missy’s excellent post on the topic.
I am very much a believer that if you do it well – or engagingly – then you can ignore any writing rule you want. I am not always sure exactly what rules Mrs Fever breaks when writing – if any. Feve has the UV factor that all writers try to find.
No, not Ultra-Violet 😉
She has her own Unique Voice, that is extremely literate, eloquent and entertaining. I expect on occasions she uses the rule of three but often I expect she follows the rule of FEVE… And that is why many flock to read her work. There is nothing more engaging than a person being themselves and that shining out through their words.
Breaking the rules
Having a unique style or a particularly very readable way of writing – however you achieve this – will top writing and grammar rules every time. IMO 😉
I’m aware that I break some rules when writing fiction. I’ve my own style that is based on developing strong characters, visual pictures and not over using adjectives. I am a spare writer. I try to make every word count. If a word is not adding anything useful to the sentence, then I throw it out.
But equally so, another writer may be emphasizing a point and use many different words, that are similar, to create that effect. The result may work brilliantly within the context of the story. The rules have been broken, but who cares?
So above we have two very different approaches but the main thing is readability. And that is the point I want to put across. Use any writing rules you want – or – don’t. But whatever you do make sure your writing in readable. A page turner!
What do I mean by readable? Well I certainly don’t mean the tool that Yoast gives you when blogging. I mean narrative that flows from one sentence to the next without clumsy repetition or sentences that are not moving the story forward. The way you achieve this is down to you.
It has been said that some of the best known writers break the rules. Authors like Steinbeck broke rules but did this with simple and compellingly readable books. Jane Austin had to tread close to the wire when creating pretentious characters, using double negatives. E.E Cummings is famed for his free style type of writing, including not using full stops of capital letters. Whereas, Emily Dickinson went the opposite way and over used capitals.
The above writers were all brilliant at their craft but they had a another thing in common- they dared to be different.
Where writing is concerned don’t get too hung up on how – just do – and see where that takes you…
Be free with your words. If you are going to break writing rules be passionate about your work. Provide a good plot with twists and turns. Strong characters. Believable dialogue.
Do these things and people will forgive rule breaking…
Let your words fly on to the page. Don’t worry about how anyone else writes – be yourself.
Images from Pixabay
4 thoughts on “Blogable A to Z – R is for Rules & Readability”
This is advice I give for everything: always be yourself. And yes, this goes for writing too! Great post, May, good advice on the readability, which in my opinion too is more important than the rules.
~ Marie xox
Yes readability – the ability to entertain and enlighten all of that – as Feve says if you know the rules then they can be broken
I once heard a college instructor talk about grammatical rules, thus: You can break the rules all you want… AFTER you learn how to follow them.
I think that’s important.
The author Alan Fuerst does odd things with commas. He creates a run-on-yet-halting narrative by putting them in places where they don’t belong. But this is not just a silly-nilly, no-understanding-of-rules way of writing. It works — it creates the effect he’s trying for — *because* he knows the rules. And knowing them, he’s able to break them to great effect.
I agree the way the “best” writers do this shows that they know so much about what the rules actually are.
I do also think that when writers are getting to grips with their craft it is important to be as uninhibited as they can. And later, when they have gained more experience, look back and see how they could have done that better.