A while back I posted about rules we writers love to break. I really, really love sentence fragments. A lot.

But you know what? Writing is like baking brownies (I just pulled a fresh batch out of the oven and the house smells heavenly). You can make it from a mix, using a formula/recipe or you can do what I do and make it up as you go along.

But you know what?

If you forget the flour you’re going to have a runny mess of goo in your pan. And if you leave out the chocolate chips your dessert is going to be bland. But if you add peppermint bark chips to the top those brownies going to be awesome.

A novel is the same way- there are rules you should probably follow. If you have a gazillion dialogue tags you’re in trouble, just like if you OD’d on the salt. And if your pages are slathered with adverbs you may as well have left the thing in the oven for an extra hour. A prologue might make the first pages of your book flat, but without the wonderful gooeyness that even warm chocolate sludge still possesses.

I like breaking the occasional rule, but I know I need to follow some of them too. The one I decided to follow that still stings is axing my prologue. I loved it. I still love it. I still think it should be included, but I chopped it, hoping one day soon an agent will sign me and ask why there isn’t a prologue for HATSHEPSUT: FEMALE PHARAOH. Then I can whip it out and we can all gush over how wonderful it is.

Are there any writing rules you’ve followed that were particularly painful?