Break the Rules!

A Pen In Each Hand

By Barrister

Knowing grammar rules and style suggestions is important—especially so you can break the rules when it’s necessary. The key to breaking the rules is knowing why they work and why breaking them might be necessary. For example, as pointed out in this month’s Absolute Blank article, passive sentences are a no-no because they utilize weak verbs and they mask the subject of the sentence. But, what if you want to shroud the subject in mystery for the moment? A passive sentence might be the right tool in that case. You can check out Absolute Blank for an example of this technique and for one involving sentence length. The Exercise: Write a short scene in which you break one or more style suggestions or grammar rules in order to enhance the story. You can use a carefully placed passive sentence or a series of short sentences, as above, or you might consider testing the waters with sentence fragments, one-word paragraphs, or run-on sentences. It’s up to you. After your scene, point out what style points you have ignored or grammar rules you have broken and why. You can post your exercise to the TC board where you feel most comfortable.

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