Breaking Rules 101: Sandra Dailey

Today I'm welcoming to Sandra Dailey, author of Twice the Trouble and The Chief's Proposal. Sandra's here to discuss breaking the rules as a writer.
Gloria, thank you so much for allowing me on your lovely blog today. I’m looking forward to returning the favor next week and I hope all your readers will join us there as well. I can’t wait to hear more about what you have in store for us.

Today I’m thinking about the new school year. Now that my children are grown and gone, I spend my time writing. That’s always a learning experience. Can any of us really know enough?
I may look like a nice old lady now, but when I was in school I was known as a trouble maker and rule breaker. I’m going to stir up a little trouble today by talking about breaking rules. Yep, I’ve never kicked the habit. Please – step inside my classroom.
Let me start off by saying, all writers have their own style:
·         Plotters
·         Pantsers
·         Outliners
·         Six books a year
·         One chapter a week
·         Team brain-stormers
·         Loners
I suspect there are as many writing styles as there are writers. No rules here, Halleluiah!  However, what we put on the pages does have so many rules.
 Some rules are good. My favorite is: Show, don’t tell. I think it’s important to take it a step further. Put your reader in the scene. Engage all the senses, all six of them. Yes, I said six.
Did anyone else hear that pop? It may have been a rule.
These are our six senses:
1.      Sight
2.      Smell
3.      Sound
4.      Taste
5.      Touch
6.      Feel
This is one of the things that separate us writers from the masses. We can describe to our readers a feeling. It’s that internal sensation we give the reader. In a movie it could be conveyed by music, (you’re thinking about Jaws right now, aren’t you?). But, books don’t have background music. They only have words.
“The dark, silent house filled him with dread.”
“A thrill rippled up her spine as she tore off the wrapping paper.”
We can make a reader feel along with their other senses.
Oops – was that a loud crack I heard? It must have been a rule.
When describing a sensation, we can also throw out word rules.
Think of the word rich. Are you picturing chocolate or coffee? (Of course you are if you’re a writer. We live on this stuff.) What if you change the word from taste to sight?
“His eyes were a rich, dark brown.”
In your mind the eyes are deeper, darker.
 A whisper is softly spoken words. But now change it from sound to touch.
“The soft, silky gown whispered over her sensitive skin.”
Can’t you just feel the fabric slither down your back?
Oh, oh – another rule just did a humpty-dumpty. Isn’t this fun?
But, alas, class is over for the day. Here is your homework:
1.    Comment below to tell me what your writing style is and/or how you break the rules.

2.    Visit the links below to find me and my books.

3.    Go write something, even if you aren’t a writer. Break rules! Live a little!
Ginny Dearing has finally realized her goal of teaching, but finding a position is proving impossible. After exhausting all possibilities, an Internet ad is her only hope. In a small town hundreds of miles away there is a job with one huge string attached...a husband.                        
Burned by love once, Brett Silverfeather finds his bachelor life more than satisfying. He’s facing re-election for sheriff, but this time the voters are looking for a family man. Brett finds himself pursuing a marriage he doesn’t want.

Lacey Carlyle has worked for years to create the perfect blend of home, business and family. Now she risks losing everything when the land she farms is bought by the man who abandoned her thirteen years ago.
Alex has never understood why Lacey walked away from him. Now, he holds the deed to her farm and intends to make her pay. The only problem – two kids weren’t part of the plan.
Jenna and Jerrod may not see eye-to-eye but they are both determined to find happiness for their mom and keep their home safe.
Can Lacey and Alex put their pasts behind them and embrace a future together?
Sandra Dailey is hiding away in a small town in North Florida where she lives with her husband, her goldfish Clementine, and a variety of house plants. When she’s not pounding on her computer she likes to spend time with her two children and three granddaughters. Her hobbies are reading, music, needle work, and FOOTBALL. She loves to hear from readers and other writers.


  1. Gloria, you have a beautiful blog. I want to thank you again for hosting me today.

  2. This was a great post. Loved the examples you used to illustrate your points.

    1. Thanks for dropping by Katherine. I'm glad you liked it.


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