The Rules of Writing

This week I sat in my writing class and listened to the professor speak for an hour on the importance of avoiding dangling participles. While I enjoy his lectures and respect him endlessly for his intelligence, I couldn't help but think, There aren't any rules in writing! Seriously.

Oh, there are structures and certain guidelines to follow in essays and the like, but when it comes to creative writing? Pretty much any and every "rule" has been broken.

Don't use adverbs? Jan Freeman writes, “Even Harry Potter’s most loyal fans would concede that his creator, J.K. Rowling, has a weakness for adverbs” (Source).

Don't begin a story with a character waking up? Hello, Hunger Games. Very first line: When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold.

Don't info-dump? Some of the greats have a tendency to begin their stories with description or background or set-up. Sarah Dessen likes to ease into hers. Robin McKinley. I'm sure you can think of many others.

Point is, when it comes to this art that we call writing, there is no direction to follow, no path to take, no rules. We can go up and down or around. Mess with punctuation or structure or plotlines. This is what was running through my head, so I figured I would spew it all onto you people. (Don't you just love that mental image I gave you?)

And... end of rant. Short as it was.

(If you're reading this, Professor Donnovan, loved the lecture!)