This post is not about dropping acid, though it may look that way from the title. It’s about another kind of “illegal” behavior–breaking a writing rule.
There are a lot of “don’ts” when it comes to writing– certain newbie-writer mistakes that will automatically flag your work as that of a first-timer. These include starting a scene with your character waking up or, worse yet, in a dream sequence, using too many adverbs and descriptive speech tags, and dense prose with not enough white space on the page.
I also had a writing instructor once tell me not to use flashbacks. And, to be fair, I overused them when I first started writing long-form fiction. But observing a hard and fast “no flashback” rule was nearly impossible for me, especially in writing Vintage, which follows items and the people who owned them from past to present and back again. So I ignored the “no flashback” rule. I did, however, scrutinize my flashbacks. I tried to keep them short. I tried to make sure they transitioned well with the rest of the story so as not to be too jarring.
So rules are good. They provide boundaries and general guidelines. But, like Katherine Hepburn said, “If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.”
Image credit: Tim’s Quilts