commentary / Meandering

Meandering Monday about Breaking Rules and Laws

As a writer, I know that there are rules about how things are SUPPOSED to be done. Rules or grammar, of spelling, of punctuation. There are also rules/expectations that are peculiar to whatever genre you happen to be writing – things that, say, would be perfectly okay in a Romance, but unacceptable in a Western.

However, after we learn the rules, we realize (or are taught to realize) that we can choose to break the rules. We just have to be willing to pay the price. You might have a character who talks with an accent, but the rules say you shouldn’t try to get this across by spelling words differently when he speaks; doing this will distract your reader. You can still do it, though – you just have to understand that you might pay the price of reader distraction while at the same time helping the reader HEAR the character’s voice. It’s a tradeoff – you decide whether it’s worth it to break the rule. AND your readers get to decide whether they’re okay with what you’ve done.

We are a country based on the rule of law; actually, I would say it’s RULES and LAW. How do most of us feel when we catch someone cheating at a game? In the legendary old west they might get shot. They’ve violated a societal code, nowadays won’t be invited to play again. If they’re an athlete they’ll get penalized or fined or thrown out of the game. Sometimes (like in the last minute of a basketball game), it might be decided that it’s worth “cheating” (fouling) and paying the penalty in order to have a chance to win. A tradeoff.

People have a right to protest, but there’s a balance between your freedom of speech and your fellow citizens’ right to peace and quiet (or to get to their job.) Or for that matter, your fellow citizens have a right to protest your protest, boycott your boycott, or hurl insults back at you when you choose to do so.

Your right to throw a punch stops at my nose.

In relation to ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION: One of most confusing things I’ve seen in this country for decades is the way we are forced to tolerate lawbreakers. You can KNOW (not just suspect) that someone is here ILLEGALLY, but you must still provide them with education and other benefits. (The people who insist that this is okay also monkey with the language – they know – because we are a nation of laws – that ILLEGAL is not a good thing to most of us, and so they think if they drop the word ILLEGAL then that make it okay. It’s not.)

It seems a bit strange to hear that I should feel sorry for ILLEGALS because they’re living in the shadows – they made that choice for that tradeoff (and nowadays, I’m not sure if ANYONE is living in shadows – they’re out there in the streets protesting, being interviewed on television, invited to D.C.)

I don’t think that’s the way the RULE OF LAW is supposed to work, and ignoring the law undermines a foundation of our country and society. I wouldn’t want to play a game with known cheaters. I wouldn’t want people in my house who won’t respect my home and my rules. Why would I want them in my country? I didn’t invite them.

It’s also damaging to our society when we see people who seem to be above the law. Illegal immigrants. Bureaucrats. Politicians. When you see others blatantly breaking the law and getting away with it, how long before Joe on the street decides it’s okay for him, too? What if everyone just decides to ignore the law?

One of our founding fathers (Adams?) said that our form of government was made for (and depends on) a moral people. Right now, we have too many dishonorable ones leading us away from our founding and undermining our foundations.

It’s up to each of us to decide enough is enough. The cheating must stop.

Just saying…


Swordsmaster is available for your reading pleasure:Swordsmaster4

Fate is neither something to run away from, nor something to run towards.

The first bright-eye to be seen on the mountain in living memory, Sandrik didn’t want anyone to think of him as they did the ominous Aurae of legend, so he had worked hard to keep his special abilities hidden. But there was more to Sandrik than even he knew. Now that it was time for him to enter the ancient ruins of Taernfeld and be declared a man, what other changes might he be forced into?


Swordsmaster is a fantasy novel and is available at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:



(there is also a paperback on Amazon at )


William Mangieri’s writing can be found in many places, including, but not limited to:
• Smashwords:
• His Amazon Author page:
• Barnes & Noble:

• His site on WordPress:
• “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook at:
• His Goodreads author page:
• Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri

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