Here are a few of the more prominent "Rules" we were told were never to be broken. These words were always delivered in an authoritative, "you're going to kill your writing career before it gets started if you even think about breaking these rules" tone of voice.
- Never use a hero that plays professional sports. This goes hand in hand with the rule that your hero should never be a professional musician, artist, or actor. (I guess no one ever told Susan Elizabeth Phillips (SEP) this rule. She writes some of the best sports playing heroes out there. One of my favorite books is Nobody's Baby But Mine written by SEP. The hero, Cal Bonner, is a professional football player.)
- Never write in sentence fragments. My reaction to this statement was, "huh?" We all want to write realistic dialogue. If you listen to people when they speak, they don't always speak in complete sentences. I know I don't.
- Never write using first-person point of view. (I guess no one told Kristan Higgins or Janet Evanovich this rule. Kristan Higgins writes some of the best first person romance novels out there. And while Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series isn't technically romance, there is the romantic triangle between Stephanie, Joe, and Ranger in every one of her books.) I will admit I tried writing in the first-person. It was hard. I kept wanting to go into the hero's point of view.
- Never head hop or jump from one character's point of view (POV) to another's to another's and back again. I have to agree with this rule. It drives me crazy when I'm in the heroine's POV and then I'm in the hero's, then I'm in the villain's and then I'm back in the heroine's. I feel jumping POVs all the time creates distance between the reader and the hero/heroine. (Of course, Nora Roberts is well known for head hopping but if you can do it as well as she does, I say go for it.)