Monday, October 14, 2013

No Nos!

There are a lot of rules for any job and for any creative outlet. In reality, probably none of them are universal, but they are good guidelines.

But there are always times to rebel!

I think if you know WHY a rule exists and you truly understand it, you're in a position to break it. With discretion.

My favourite rule to break is Thou must write in complete sentences.

Nope.

I like sentence fragments both in dialogue (where it's more acceptable) and out of it. I try not to overdo it, but I love the effect of fragments - especially when my characters are stressed or scared or ticked off. To me it adds to the authenticity.

What's your favourite rule to break?

I'm over at From the Write Angle today talking about Query No Nos - I hope you'll pop over and join the discussion!

36 comments:

  1. Yes!! I think sentence fragments are my favourite rule breaker too.

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  2. I don't think I have the talent enough to break established writerly rules and pull it off beautifully but I can think of some books I've read that do! Toni Morrison's Beloved comes to mind. It was like reading an abstract painting in words! Another is Cloud Atlas. Take care
    x

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  3. I use gobs of fragments. :) And I've written quite a few prologues. Oh...and I always open stories with dialogue. Gosh, I probably break more rules than I thought...

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  4. Fantastic post! Excellent list of query no-no's!
    Oh wait, I'm sucking up.... Sorry.

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  5. I break this rule all the time too. Though I try not to overdo it.

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  6. Breaking a rule with deliberation creates an emphasis on that part of the text.

    I taught that to my students just last week, when they wanted to know why an author would write a paragraph with only two words in it.

    Since the author was me -- I was sharing a page out of my galleys -- I could tell explain with confidence!

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  7. Lynda - it is fun to let loose with the fragments! :)

    Old Kitty - some authors do it so well! Great examples!

    Elizabeth - too funny! But you do it well, so it works!!

    Alex - too funny -thanks for dropping over!

    Natalie - I catch some of them in editing and change them up too - you do have to be wary!

    Dianne - nice! I bet the students were excited about that - how very cool!

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  8. I like using sentence fragments too - judiciously.

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  9. Yes, I love fragments. I've been 'told off' about them before, but I don't care. It's my style. I also like to write sentences that lack appropriate punctuation to give the sense that the narrator is a little bit frantic. It's called being creative. Don't let anyone knock it.

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  10. I'm with you, Jemi. Sentence fragments. Love 'em.

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  11. Beth - that's what my editing can be all about!

    Jessica - I agree! It's a fun part of our style :)

    Karen - me too! :)

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  12. less work for me to translate LOL

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  13. I break that rule all the time also. It makes internal dialogue and real dialogue so much more realistic.

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  14. I use fragments all the time. :) I also like starting sentences with "And", which is another classic No No. I just happen to like a conversational tone, I guess.

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  15. Susan - it does! I don't speak in full sentences a lot either! :)

    Shelley - I love fragments! AND I do like that conversational tone too! :)

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  16. Oh that's funny! Because I write with a lot of fragments too. Drives my copy editor nuts. LOL But it's a style thing.

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  17. Hmmm... I have to think about my favorite rule to break. But- I agree with you about fragments. They definitely have their place and I can think of lots of authors who use them. :)
    ~Jess

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  18. Hey Jemi,

    I break every rule possible when it comes to grammar. A regular grammar anarchist. And I write stories with no plot, no antagonist or protagonist. How about that...eh, if you know...what I mean...

    Gary :)

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  19. Yup. Fragments. Just work for me.

    Loved the no-no list on queries, too.

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  20. Lisa - I think we can get away with it being a style thing too :)

    Kelly - those fragments are popular!

    Jess - they are fun & add to the voice!

    Gary - I totally know what you mean eh! :)

    Linda - thank you! It's fun to work with those bits & pieces :)

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  21. I agree, Fragments are quite effective for stress and emphasis on a very active scene!

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  22. Hi Jemi,

    A mixture of short and long sentence makes for interesting reading and keeps the reader hooked all the way. Imagine reading long sentences all over the page?

    Nas

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  23. Michael - that's it! They're fun :)

    Nas - it does make it interesting. Too many long sentences makes me snooze!

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  24. I like to break that rule, too. I also open with dialogue from time to time. Looks like we're a horde of rule breakers here!

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  25. Carol - we really are! But I think we know what we're doing ... at least I hope so! :)

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  26. I don't so much break rules as make my own LOL

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  27. Maria - and that totally works for you!! :)

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  28. Sentence fragments rule. Mixing up the lengths is like using different brushstrokes on a painting.

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  29. Leslie - that is a perfect analogy - love it!! :)

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  30. I use sentence fragments.

    I'll check out your Write Angle post.

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  31. Nice post! I use sentence fragments, too. I guess I don't really have one favorite rule to break, though I've broken plenty. I think when you are aware of a rule and you feel you have a good reason to break it, it's okay--knowing others may disagree. There's so much subjectivity, you know? Maybe those decisions are part of the art.

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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  32. Thanks Medeia! Fragments seem to be very popular!

    Dawn - thanks! And I agree - art is all about the opinion - and there are so many of them!

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  33. Fragments, of course. They work. Runon sentences do to when you want to set up a fast pace, out of breath scene. Love starting with And. Sends my grammar checker into spasms.

    Here's the that WHW race!

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  34. Lee - totally agree - they work! I do the And thing too :)

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