Sandra Jones

Breaking the Rules

I recently read a rant on Twitter about how annoying it was when authors tweeted so-called writing rules—the things you should or shouldn’t do. It seems like there’s always an exception to every rule.

Romance has its own unwritten rules. I remember several years ago when an author told me what I could and couldn’t write in a romance novel. Now, I shudder to think what would be on the shelves if all authors had followed those same guidelines!

However, I think as individual readers, we have our own preconceived ideas about what a romance should include. My preconceived notions change constantly. Authors break romance rules all the time, because an excellent story doesn’t have to adhere to cookie-cutter standards.

Personally, I have three things that I do happen to look for in a good romance:

  1. There is always a happily ever after. PERIOD.
  2. At his core, the hero is a gentleman (even if he doesn’t always behave like one!)
  3. The hero and heroine never cheat on each other (again, my personal preference)

What rules do you expect romance to follow? And what rules do you like to see broken?

6 thoughts on “Breaking the Rules

  1. I love this topic. I’ve ranted a little over the years about the overload of “rules” that can be overwhelming. Some of my favorite writers are rule-breakers.

    As for romance, I prefer some witty banter. Some of my favorites are from Charlene Harris because she writes such funny dialogue between characters. I also like some chemistry from the first meeting forward.

  2. When I was early in my writing, my writing became totally stilted due to all those “rules.” I remember more than once being told “You can’t do that.” blah blah blah. I do agree there are some “rules” newbies need to learn, like don’t head hop, but even big time authors have been known to break that rule.

    I think the bottom line is you have to know the “rule” of writing before you break them. 🙂

    I agree with your three rules. Those are the ones I write by.

  3. Did I mention I’m a rule breaker by nature? Wouldn’t know it to look at me, but OH YEAH! Between all the writing and genre rules the story can easily become stifled. I say focus on the story, stay in the wide parameters, and let it fly. I can handle your rules with a smile on my face, Sandra!

  4. The only other rule I like to apply to my writing is one I call ‘the rule of really’. Would my hero/heroine really do/say/think whatever comes out on the paper, and if so, do I really want to know them? Other than that (and the three you noted in your post), I say break away!

Comments are closed.