IWSG: What writing rule do you wish you’d never heard?

When I went to journalism school at the University of Colorado, Boulder, we were taught to report the facts – the who, what, when, where and how. And, to get that information into the first paragraph (the “lead”). So, when writing fiction, it’s nice to have more leeway in including emotion and description into my imaginary stories. Fewer rules result in more creativity!

However, there are a few rules that still drive me to drink (or at least to ponder a glass of wine).

If you are a writer who could benefit from encouragement, check out the IWSG – it’s been an awesome experience!

One of the rules that I’d wish I’d never heard of was to never begin a sentence with “And, …” In marketing and creative writing, it seems so conversational to begin a sentence or two with the word “And”.

Also, I’m sorry I ever heard of “not ending a sentence with a preposition”. As soon as I am reminded of that, I can’t NOT end my sentences with prepositions. The power of suggestion is amazing!

Now that you’ve gotten me started, I recently read a book that said that the average reader prefers to read at a 5th-grade level. It’s not that people are incapable of reading at a higher level. It’s that even if people have doctorate-level or multiple degrees, they are most comfortable digesting information and reading at the lower level. Gone are the days when I should write with weighty words that I learned from my latest Words with Friends app.

What writing rules do you dare to ignore? Ah, such freedom we have!


  1. Reply

    I’ve started plenty of sentences with the word “And” while writing. I know it’s against the rules, but sometimes it just works.

    1. Reply

      I know, right?! Thanks for visiting my website/blog. I wish you the best in 2017 with your writing!

  2. Reply

    Hi Dainne, thanks for visiting my blog and leaving such an encouraging comment. Feedback from others can really sway a person’s creativity. The rules are good, to a point, but they can be broken. I’m glad to see you are setting yourself free from the rigid rules of journalism and enjoying creative writing!

    1. Reply

      Thank you for your comment. Have a great weekend!

  3. Reply

    That’s interesting about the 5th grade level. My husband is reading the Hamilton biography by Ron Chernow and it is chock-full of huge words. No wonder he stops every few weeks to read something else. (That and the type is quite small with large pages.)

    1. Reply

      It’s amazing what writing at a 5th grade level looks like. Short sentences with short words. It’s just how we digest things, I guess. I’ve heard that book is good (and was the basis for the play). Just haven’t had time to read it. Small type is another hazard, especially for us “aging gracefully” folks. 😉

  4. Reply

    Except for formal letters and such I think rules are okay to stretch or break. If I thought differently I would never write a word!

    1. Reply

      Me too!

  5. Reply

    Hmmm, interesting about most people preferring to read at a fifth grade level. Once again, I’m outside the norm. I didn’t even prefer reading at the fifth grade level when I was IN the fifth grade. (And that was a looooong time ago…)

    But I do start lots of sentence with “and,” (And “but,” as you probably can tell.)

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