I totally agree with writing the kind of story the author would like to read. Rules, as I have said, is not a word that should be used. Guidelines, perhaps, suggestions, etc. But if we all followed the same guidelines, everyone's stories would all be similar and extremely bland.
I agree, Dan, that there should be somewhat of a universal structure, however one interprets that, something which keeps a story cohesive or keeps the flow going, or some element that assures it as readable (I have seen some that truly are not). But we can't write with the cloud over our heads of 'oh, I shouldn't say that in THAT way', or 'gee, this character shouldn't hold those kinds of beliefs'...
Sometimes, stories do go their own way and characters become what we never imagined, and it all falls into place and the outcome is a powerful one, and that's what we were after all along.
When it comes to writing, all rules are made to be broken. Given enough talent.
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