Rebel Writers Break Writing Rules

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There will always be writing rules in fiction, but some rules are meant to be broken. Are you itching to be a writing rebel and take some creative risks? If so, maybe your rebellious streak will help your writing stand out in a saturated market. 

Exploit Your Spoilers

Let’s start at the beginning and ruin the whole book right upfront. Seriously. Why not? Start your book with the ending and work backward. Personally, I love a good book that has me rushing through the pages to find out what happened. Because, right from the start, a seed has been planted in my mind and I want to know! How did that happen? TELL ME! 

As the writer, you can do this because you’re a magician and you hold all the cards. Yes, the person is dead right away, but you’re the only one who knows why. Use the rest of the book to reveal the ending. 

If breaking this writing rule is too much for you, try this on your next writing projext–write your ending first. No matter where you put the ending, at least you’ll know where you’re going.

Remove the Word “Lovable” from Your Main Character

More and more, main characters are becoming less and less likable. Go through any of George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones characters and tell me how many are of the Clark Kent variety. Not many. Let’s just forget lovable. Take books like Gone Girl and The Girl on a Train or classics like Catcher in the Rye and Lolita. They’re memorable because they’re not even likable, let alone lovable. 

For a change, see how unlikable you can make your main character while still keeping them interesting. Readers like to feel better about themselves. In a world where social media shoves inadequacies in your face all the time, a horrible main character might make your readers feel like they have a leg up. 

Ditch this: One Main Character to Rule them All

Speaking of main characters, you can break this writing rule by writing more than one. Think back to Game of Thrones, who is the main character? There isn’t just one. Yes, this makes things harder for you in the planning stages, but, you will yield a higher word count because you’re writing a broader story, expanding your world with multiple points of view. 

If this is overwhelming for you, try writing a short story with three POVs using the same plot. See what happens, see how it feels. You might end up ditching two of the three, but you might get more insight into one of your main characters by exploring different points of view.

Good vs. Evil or Not

Many times, the overarching theme of a book is the classic battle of good versus evil. But does it have to be? The world we live in is increasingly filled with gray areas. People are just trying to survive this crazy ride and make sure their families are well-provisioned. That might mean making decisions that negatively affect others. Therefore, what really is good and, transversely, what is evil? It depends on your POV, and in many cases, that’s a much more interesting story than absolute good triumphing over absolute evil. 

Don’t Write Every Day

Lastly, there’s no written rule that says you need to write every day. Will it make you a better writer? Yes. Will it put food on the table when you’re starting out? Probably not. Write when you can and give yourself a break. If you’re working full-time (in a non-writing related field), raising a family, and you manage to squeeze out some time to write every now and then–good for you. It’s all good, you rebel.

Do you have a topic you would like us to cover? Let us know about your suggestion. 


About Author

Heather Rigney is a fiction writer, blogger, journalist, and art teacher based in Rhode Island. Author of The Merrow Trilogy--a dark, historical fantasy novel that deals with homicidal mermaids, the colonial suppression of women, and a present-day alcoholic funeral director trying to make sense of it all. Her writing has been featured in Motif Magazine and Stone Crowns Magazine. By day she teaches art at an all-girls Quaker school and at night she tries to be creative while avoiding too many sweets. You can read more about Ms. Rigney on her website:

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