"I didn't know there were rules," I said.
"Sure there are, if you want to get published."
"Did Dickens follow the rules?"
"No. There weren't any back then."
"Does everyone know the rules?"
"You have to learn them, usually the hard way."
"Everyone just follows the rules?"
Then somebody said, "Well, there are some exceptions. Some really bad writers still get published, even though they break all the rules."
This really got my attention. Who could these deficient writers possibly be?
"Could you give me a couple of examples?"
"Easy," one of the ladies said. "Nicholas Sparks. He's an awful writer, but a great story teller, so everything he writes gets published and read."
"I love his books," I said.
"Yeah. Me, too," she admitted.
Someone else spoke up then. "J. K. Rowling. Terrible writer. Doesn't follow any of the rules."
"Harry Potter?" I asked.
"Yes. Poorly written, but fun to read."
Everyone agreed with the edict. Well, everyone except me. I was sitting there in stunned silence. I hadn't noticed any problems with the text. Was I deficient somehow? A generation of children learned to love books because of Rowling and the Harry Potter series.
I don't think I like the rules. Maybe I should break a few myself. They say I have a good start with that...