Rules? What Rules? (Mary Strand)

This month at YA Outside the Lines, we’re talking about writing rules: which ones we break, which ones we always follow.


I practiced law for 16 years, so I’m all about laws and rules. But one of my specialties was tax law, so I’m also all about finding my way around so-called rules.


As a writer, I don’t spend much time thinking about rules or even caring whether they exist. Is it a good story with a plot that works, and did I write it well? Nothing else matters to me.


I do stick to the “rule” of being in only one character’s point of view per scene, but that’s only because the story is hard to follow if you don’t.


And I use good grammar, only because bad grammar is like nails on a chalkboard to me. Besides, readers who don’t know grammar won’t notice the difference. Good grammar is for the readers who do know and care. But it’s especially for me.


And ... that’s it. I have no deep thoughts on writing rules, because I can care only about so many things, and rules aren’t among them.


More important, since I’m really writing this blog post for my friends who read my posts (even if they’re about writing rules), I was in a bad scooter accident two weeks ago, and the pain in my right shoulder and arm (my dominant hand) is unbelievably intense and never stops, and I’m struggling mightily with life. But also, quite specifically, any use of my right hand, like on this keyboard, damn near kills me. 


So maybe, on a better day, I might care about writing rules and even have something interesting to say about them.


But maybe not.


Mary Strand is the author of Pride, Prejudice, and Push-Up Bras and three other novels in the Bennet Sisters YA series. You can find out more about her at




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