I've made it a personal mission of mine to read at least a few books a month. As a writer, it keeps the creative juices flowing. But this month I realized that each book that I read broke one or many of the rules. This is a common thing for sure as part of learning the rules is knowing when to break them. I read one book where the author used the verb "was" twenty times on one page. Yikes! I thought, at first, but then I realized that I didn't even notice it in the first pass. Want to know why? Because the story flowed so incredibly well that I didn't care. It was quite the epiphany for me and in turn I have created a few rules for myself.
1. Story trumps rules, always. If it works, it works. Throwing in a bunch of strong verbs can read as very unnatural.
2. Voice trumps rules, sometimes. You have to stay true to your character. If that word or phrase is voice specific, I say keep it.
I find that over editing, over critting, and nerves in general can really detract from the story-telling aspect of a story. Do you agree?What are your rules or rather, rules-that-break rules?