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    What We Mean When We Say You Can’t Break the Rules Until You Can Follow the Rules

    One of the pieces of advice I often hear about writing is that you need to learn to follow the rules before you can break them. All writers do it. Choppy sentences, passive voice, fragmented sentences, consistent point of view, infodumping, starting with a character waking up, use of adverbs. Bestsellers and classics like Jane Austen, James Joyce, John Green, Suzanne Collins, Stephenie Meyer, John Scalzi, J.K. Rowling, Stephen King. There’s no work where at least one of the basics isn’t twisted. Now one could say that it’s because, in any art form, there are no rules, only guidelines. Suggestions. Good advice. They’re smart plays, but not written in stone.…