I received the invitation to be part of a blog chain (which I am really excited about), and today is my turn to put in my two cents. I am following Sandra, and Kat will be following me to finish up this particular topic.
So the question posed is this:
What writing rules/advice - whether it was a matter of cannot or will not - have you broken?
As I walk along (sometimes stumbling along) this journey in writing, I've probably broken too many rules to mention. In my defense however, the only time I learned writing rules was back in high school, and who paid attention back then? Certainly not me (heh heh, that one was on purpose).
There are a couple noteworthy rules I continue to struggle with however, and despite the fact that I know what they are, I still have difficulty from time to time. The rule about adverbs and 'ly' is one that plagues me all the time. I'll be writing along, the words flowing out without any problems, and then I realize I just threw in two or three dang adverbs. Trying to remember not to use them interrupts my muse's flow, so sometimes I'll just let them out to play for a moment and clean them up later.
I also struggle with showing instead of telling, although I think I'm getting better at this. For some reason, this makes alot of sense to me (now that I'm aware I do it), and for the most part I think I can spot the mistakes easier or avoid them before they get committed to the page. When I start hearing the narrator's voice coming through instead of the character's, I know it's time to change things up. The word narrator is vague and general, whereas the name of the character (whatever it may be) is specific. So I tell myself that when a narrator is talking, I've pulled the reader outside of the story. If I make sure the character is telling the story through their actions and dialogue, I'm no longer "telling" the story.
I truly am a bitter taskmaster when it comes to the Oxford comma rule (and thanks Sandra for letting me know what the name of the rule is). This rule is where you make sure a comma precedes "and" when you're listing out things, such as:
The baker sold cakes, pies, and other sugary delights.
I edit articles for brighthub.com, and it bugs me to no end when a writer submits something that fails this rule. I literally cannot continue until I fix every missing comma. Another rule (I honestly don't know if it's just my rule or a 'legal' rule) is the use of "however" at the beginning of a sentence. I can't start sentences with because, so, or however, no matter how much I try. I also cannot ignore it when writers I edit do this. It just bugs me. Feel free to tell me the rules regarding these particular words, because I don't know if I'm breaking a rule or adhering to a rule. I just know I am incapable of using them at the beginning of a sentence, unless I want to cringe every time I read that particular sentence.
I probably break more rules all the time, since I'm fairly uneducated as to writing rules, but I'm working on it. Rather than continue my soapbox, I'll hand off the baton to Kat now to finish this topic up. And thanks to all the blog-chainers for including me in the fun. Oh, and if my font here looks weird (switching back and forth) you can thank blogspot for it. The dang thing just didn't want to work very well for me this morning. Le sigh...