|Just ask my beta readers!|
There are most definitely rules to writing.
Anyone who tells you differently is likely headed for an accident themselves.
Unless their name is Pynchon, or McCarthy, or Rowling, or King—or if you prefer Earnhardt, Schumacher, and Andretti (I had to look those up)—always view this advice with the same skepticism as a fruit-vending snake.
What they probably meant to say is: First know the rules, and then know when to break them.
If you’re breaking them because you don’t know them, that’s as bad as driving the wrong way down the 101 during rush hour while wearing a blindfold, screaming, “All gods are bastards!”
On the other hand, if you’re writing at a good clip, following your roadmap outline, and a character suddenly swerves into your lane, throwing out plot-twists and dialogue, that’s the time to take some decisive action.
Grammar, spelling, and punctuation are as important—maybe even more so—as plot, dialogue, and believable characters. Nothing takes a reader out of a story faster, shattering that illusion of willing belief than a poorly executed line resulting in unwanted hilarity due to lack of solid basics:
“What are you going to do? Ink them to death?” Jane asked.
“My penis mightier than their swords!” Dick said, thrusting his implement into the air triumphantly.
Nothing throws ice-water on a clever moment as effectively. The odd typo is certainly forgivable—even the Big Five have a certain number of errors in every release, no matter whose name is on the cover. But repeated errors will start to frustrate and annoy your reader to the point that, no matter how great the story, they’ll walk away frustrated, and perhaps ride to the nearest 1-star review:
I hate wet and reiny days. It rained alot in 1816 .... alot - like everyday the weather in Europe was crazxy whet and it rained 183 out of the one-hundred-and-thirty days from January to February to March. the onnly thing U could doo without TeeV or anything was to sat. I sat. I sat and sas and sat.
Imagine page after page of at that level. Did you make it through, or are you now curled up in a ball, shuddering at the evil? We can only communicate if we’re all playing by the same rules. Stories need to adhere even more closely, so that they can reach the widest audience possible and have the greatest chance of getting the messages through.