Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Blog Chain: Breakin' the Law

I get to start this round! Aren't you excited? Here's the topic I chose:

There are SO many writing rules, but sometimes we have to break one or two, just to keep things interesting. Is there a writing rule you've broken on purpose? Why did you choose to break it? And if you want to post a snippet of your writing as an example, even better!

Raise your hand if you've heard that piddly little rule about not opening with a dream? Everybody's heard that one, right? And it's a big one. I've lost count of how many agents have blogged that you just don't start with a dream. Bad, bad writer for starting with a dream. But that's exactly what I did.

Here's my reasoning, and I'd love to hear your thoughts on it, even if you disagree.

I didn't just pick some random dream to make the opening exciting. It's a dream the MC has had countless times and it's integral to many aspects of the story, most importantly, the relationship between the MC and the boy in the dream. And technically, my opening is a daydream of just a small part of that dream ('cause I like to make things complicated), so it doesn't really count as a dream, right? ;)

Oh, and I started with dialogue, which I've heard is also a no-no. Bad, bad writer. I know.

So, anyway, here are the first 250ish words, in all their rule breakin' glory. :)


“Is this Heaven?” I asked.

My angel laughed, his eyes sparkling in the light from the two moons overhead. “Heaven? You’re messing with me, right?” A warm breeze rustled the field of glowing blossoms surrounding us and tousled his curls. He slipped his arms around my waist. “Okay. I’ll play. No, it’s not Heaven, but sometimes, it feels that way. Especially with you here.”

He leaned in, his scent filling the air around me. His lips brushed mine—

“Livy?” Patty’s quiet voice jerked me back to reality, from my attempt to escape to a happier place. Even if that world—and the boy I’d come to call my angel—existed only in my dreams. “It’s almost time.”

I glanced across the room at the casket—shiny black with silver handles. Elegant, according to Patty. Like that mattered. It would be buried underground, never to be seen again after today. And that wasn’t my mother in there.

Patty settled down on the arm of the loveseat and tucked my long bangs behind my ear. I resisted the urge to release them, so I could go back to hiding behind the auburn curtain they created.

“You sure you don’t want to see her?” she asked. “This is the last chance you’ll get.” She meant well. Just doing her job as my pseudo-grandmother and legal guardian. Well, that was what she would’ve been. If I hadn’t turned eighteen on the day my mother died.

Full first chapter here.


So what about you, my bloggy friends? What rules have you broken? Why did you choose to break them?

Don't miss Kat's post tomorrow! :)


  1. The biggest sort of "rule" I've broken was the whole "start the story as close to the inciting incident as possible" thing. I like to start my books a little slower, set up relationships between characters then throw their worlds upside down.

  2. P.S. Totally intrigued by that opening.

  3. Sometimes I feel like I'm still in the stage where I'm learning what the rules are!

    The only rule I can remember breaking on purpose was to introduce a ton of characters at the start of an old novel. Most of them died before chapter two, though. :)

  4. Grrrrr! You just have to make it another difficult question, huh? LOL. That's okay, I suppose I can come up with some kind of intelligent response. Btw, I really like the excerpt and I don't think breaking that rule hurt it at all.

  5. Haha, you REBEL, you! :D

    I've always loved your dream opening. It's exciting, and doesn't make you feel tricked in the bad way, which is what I think agents want authors to avoid.

    I broke the rules by hanging onto my prologue. I know, I know. Prologues often are unnecessary. But I love mine, and I just can't help myself ;)!

  6. I love the excerpt, although your question puts the fears in me. Not sure how I'm going to answer it.

  7. Stephanie: Thanks! And I think in some stories that type of opening is necessary. Great rule to break! :)

    Tere: I feel like I'm at that stage most of the time too. I just like to pretend like I know what I'm talking about. :)

    Eric: Thanks! And sorry! Seems like I feel that way about every question that's posed on the chain. I'm sure you'll come up with something awesome! :)

    Becca: Thanks! Sometimes hanging on to your prologue is necessary. You have to do what's best for your story. :)

    Michelle: Thanks! Sorry the question's so hard, but I know you can come up with something fantastic! :)