Rules Are Meant To Be…

Willa and I were out on a walk when we happened upon this humorous photo opp. It immediately brought to mind the oft-quoted statement: “Rules are meant to be broken.”


Meant for their vehicle’s safety due to road construction, the folks in this instance turned a blind eye to the clearly posted sign.

Should rules be obeyed, regardless? Or should we follow the rules only when they’re in our best interest, or in the interest of the greater good?

When do rules apply to you?


Breaking the Rules

Madison WI Capitol at Dusk by Laurie Buchanan

Madison WI Capitol at Dusk by Laurie Buchanan

Thursday – April 22, 2010
I arrived at the Writers’ Institute in Madison, Wisconsin a day early to take photographs and get my bearings. A college town, it’s instantly clear I missed the memo about must-be-seen-in accessories. I’m not decked out in ear buds, one dangling fashionably down the front of my shirt, while holding a razor-thin cell phone to my other ear; or stylishly in front of my chest, index finger sliding gracefully across the glass face several times, brows furrowed, appearing to search intently for something.

Friday – April 23, 2010
Literary Agent Katharine Sands said to the audience of writers, “Writers … in the end, you’re opening a restaurant and your job is to fill seats with people and get them to try your signature dish.”

Saturday – April 24, 2010
In regards to getting a fresh pair of eyes to read your manuscript, author John DeDakis said, “There comes a time when you’ve done all the damage you can do, and now it’s someone else’s turn.”

Sunday – April 25, 2010
Author and teacher, Laurel Yourke, talked about “the new math,” meaning—Whatever doesn’t add, subtracts.

I share this feeling, especially as it relates to breaking the rules of writing. Be cautious of advice that starts with “never.” Absolute rules don’t always apply. If keeping a rule subtracts from the story, break it! An example that’s just begging to be broken is “Write what you know.” I don’t agree—at all. That’s what imaginations are for. If we think of rules as guidelines, we’re more apt to bend, stretch, and break them when it’s best for the story.

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan
Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights Reserved.