Do you really care if I start sentences with words like 'and'? Because I'm going to (see what I did there?)
I wrote Fait Accompli however it occurred to me to do it. Before I joined Scrib and learned about the hitherto unknown passive sentence, or the evil that is (hushed whisper) an adverb. Before I fully understood that the full stop goes inside the speech mark when you're writing dialogue. Yes, I know I have an English degree. No, apparently I never picked that up. Yes, I know how stupid that makes me look.
Then I joined Scrib and a whole new understanding of the depth and breadth of my lack of understanding revealed itself to me. I spent twice as long editing FA as I did writing it. 70k words became 58k as I cut redundancy, re-worded passive sentences and waged war on adverbs.
So when I started work on Write Your Name, I was a little better educated. I knew that each speaker's dialogue needed to be 'attached' to their actions. I knew about tags and beats. Paragraphing is still somewhat haphazard, and commas may never be my friend, but, moving swiftly on, I felt like I could attempt to produce something half decent. However, somewhere during the process, I also started to analyse everything I read. Not in the way that I did when I was at University. Not from a lit crit angle. From a I'm-picking-apart-every-sentence-you-write-to-see-how-you-do-it kind of angle.
And I expected to see little to no evidence of 'weak' verbs. None of those adverbs I'd been warned would be the ruination of my lovely writing, and could be deleted if I just chose a stronger verb. No run-on sentences, no passive writing.
I expected not to see full stops after speech marks. Ok, I got that last one. Nobody does that. Seriously, not even six year olds.
BUT (yes, I started a sentence with it, and there's nothing you can do about it - it's my blog!) the books I scrutinised all used the word (shield your eyes if you must) was. I was reading Sebastian Faulks' Birdsong when I first started really looking at what published authors used or didn't use, and let me tell you, Mr Faulks didn't seem adverse. I'm currently reading the second in Maggie Stiefvater's Wolves of Mercy Falls series (Linger) because I'm on a massive YA kick since last year. She doesn't seem overly bothered either.
Now I know that I'm not in the same league as those authors. I know that in my pre-published state (isn't that a nice way of putting it : ) ) I shouldn't pick and choose which writing 'rules' I flaut. But is it really so terrible if, in telling my new story the way I want to tell it, I use the word was? Can I really not start a sentence with but, or and? When you write, should you worry about rules? (dear God, I just slipped into second person. Am I going to writer hell?) How do you decide?