Bend the Rules

Bending the writing rules can help you deliver the tone and essence of your writing to your readers.

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One of the beauties of writing fiction is that, for the most part, you can do whatever you want. Yes, the farther that you stray from the traditional rules the less likely it is that your book will be traditionally published or that people will enjoy reading it – you can eschew the entire concept of sentences if you really want to – but it’s your book; you can do what you want with it.

By doing these things that are technically incorrect you can add an extra dimension to the writing, show character, develop character and enhance the tone of the piece all though breaking these so called rules.

A nice easy example of this would be your use of commas and full stops. Take this sentence:

Tim, what time do you call this?

When we read it aloud, we add the comma into our speech – as we should – and it creates a nice little pause. This sentence would be technically correct. But what if we change the comma? What happens to the way that we read it?

Tim. What time do you call this?

I read this as angry, frustrated, whoever is speaking is clearly annoyed at Tim, it’s probably not the first time that Tim has been late. In the original sentence I’m not getting any of that, just someone being admonished for being late.

Tim what time do you call this?

Without the pause at all there’s a level or urgency to the speech. Maybe even worry. The speaker has a level of concern in their voice that wasn’t present in the other iterations.

This is one of the reasons why reading your work, even just sections that don’t quite have the impact that you want them to, can help improve the quality of your piece. It gives you an opportunity to play around with the minutia and really impact the way that your writing is conveyed to your reader. It’s also a very handy way to convey a considerable amount of information using as few words as humanly possible, which I’m quite a fan of. So, throw away the rulebook and have fun with your words.

David Chitty was born and raised in Thanet in the 90s. He devotes most of his energies to writing fantasy fiction novels.

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