The “Rules of Grammar” and Novel Writing

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Red PenI recently read a blog post/article about “breaking the rules of grammar” in novel writing and thought I’d chime in as it’s a common topic among authors that often stirs much controversy. First, I’d like to point out that everything in this article/blog is my own opinion. Moreover, there is no theorem or equation to prove or disprove any of this—it’s a conjecture-based subject, after all.

With that in mind, the article in question held that breaking (I believe the actual word used was ‘ignoring’) rules of grammar is justifiable when writing a novel so long as you simply ‘know the rules’ being broken. This sentiment seems to be shared by many aspiring authors, and while I strongly believe that grammar ought to be looked upon with more elasticity and flexibility in novel writing than with other forms of writing, I don’t think ignoring grammar altogether is a good way of putting…

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3 thoughts on “The “Rules of Grammar” and Novel Writing

  1. For what it’s worth… I was always told that if you break the rules in a way that is logical and consistent it’s OK. However with the current climate I’ve discovered that if you’re self published you cannot afford to be anything but absolutely conventual with grammar and punctuation right down the line.




  2. Yeap, you’re spot on there MT, we have to be so careful as we are already facing stigma from traditional presses and the media, regarding the quality of books from self-published authors. But one thing which helps the self-published author, is the fact that so many of these small indie publishers do not have professional industry standards themselves and get a lot of grammar wrong! I remember one very embarrassing example of, ‘The news were not good.’ Ugh!. So at least the self-published author can spot and correct any mistakes, whereas an author signed to a small indie publisher often has no choice but to see incompetent decisions made regarding their work and are powerless to do anything about it! 😦


  3. Good re-post choice, Tricia. I think that grammar can more lax if it suits the voice of the storyteller, but if that is the writer’s choice than it needs to be consistently done throughout the book.


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