Many of you will know that one of the things I will be doing at the Festival of Writing in York (not far away now) is running a workshop on Breaking the Rules.
I chose this topic as I know how people can get hung up on them there pesky 'rules' of creative writing (though 'guidelines' might be a better word). It's easy to internalise them to the extent that they stifle any creative spark that's struggling to push its way out from your clogged-up brain. Just as it's about to emerge, blinking in the sunlight, it's clobbered by someone wielding a big stick and shouting, 'You can't do that!' And that has to be a Bad Thing to anyone who loves shaping words into stories and doing something different and fresh.
On the other hand, I've edited countless MSes that don't work because the POV switches round so much the reader gets dizzy, or where it's impossible to work out where you are in the timeline.
So what I want to do in the workshop is to define what those so-called rules are and why they matter; to demonstrate what the consequences are of breaking them and stress that an author neeeds a good reason to do it ... and then provide the tools that will enable people to go ahead and do just that.
As one of the lovely people on WordCloud has said, it's like teaching a child to cross the road safely. It's best to cross at the lights, but as you grow up, you realise you can step out elsewhere, as long as you know what you're doing and do so with care.
So far, I've come up with POV switches, sticking to a linear chronological structure, not switching tenses or between first and third person, prologues and a few others.
What's on your list? Anything I'm missing?