I feel it’s good to bend rules sometimes. Notice, I said bend. I believe most rules are set in place in a misguided attempt to protect ourselves from ourselves. What I mean is, there are 50 million rules to writing. At least it feels like that sometimes. I never really paid attention to the rules teachers tried to impart onto me, not because I didn’t want to learn, but because I was already reading college level books when I was in third grade. The lessons they taught I understood, for the most part, though I sucked at the vocabulary they wanted me to use.
Reading imparted most of that intuitive knowledge to me. What I mean is, I understood the lessons from so many examples before me. I don’t know why I put a comma here, but examples throughout my life have shown me that’s where it goes. It doesn’t bother me that I have no clue what the rule is, though I’m sure the more learned could impart the knowledge.
However, there are rules that are much more complex than the simple lesson of when and where to use a comma. I don’t know them all, but I do try to learn to follow them. Things like head hopping are frowned upon, this is one lesson I’m striving to master. Only showing the scene from one character’s point of view. Still, I can’t help but feel that the perspective inside another characters head will do nothing but help my readers understand what I mean. It becomes a matter of choice of style, and a perfection of one’s craft.
Still, looking back on my zombie series, where I used it intentionally for mood, I wouldn’t change it. I know I broke the rule, but I believe it fits the atmosphere. And that I believe is where your voice comes out in stories. Knowing when and where you should bend, or even break, the rules for best effect.