The Importance of Rules

It’s important to have rules, especially if you’re a writer. I’ve been thinking about this since I read Jami Gold’s useful thread about POV changes (see this blog, 28 June 2014). I needed to conquer the Point of View dragon in order to write my latest book. Previously I’ve only toyed with it, but her article came at just the right time for me to take advantage of it.

Rules at their simplest help to make things understandable – grammar, punctuation, word order. If we simply ignored them, our writing wouldn’t be readable. But the real value of rules comes after you’ve taken the time to take in, analyse and understand them.

The great thing you can do once you know the rules is – you can break them. Some of the best writers break the rules with impunity, because they understand exactly what they’re are doing. And, in my opinion, it’s one of the things that distinguishes’ really good poetry. By understanding what readers expect and denying it, the poet forces us into unexpected pathways and that makes us think.

At its best, it gives us a little taste of the potent force that is forever swirling in the maelstrom of the poet’s soul. That’s the word-weaving magic we love.




2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. somemaid
    Jul 10, 2014 @ 09:04:37

    So is it like a musician who understands a piece of music well enough to improvise around the tune, enhancing it.


    • yvonnemarjot
      Jul 10, 2014 @ 16:14:09

      I love it when I think something a bit controversial and just throw it out there – and then somebody actually reads it! My son’s a young musician who loves to compose, and he’s just getting his head around the idea that if he knows what’s expected, it gives him greater freedom to develop and extend himself.


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