There are tons of writing rules, all of which are passionately debated on writer's lists. The problem with rules is that some writer breaks one, and does it so well that suddenly everyone sees the rule was merely a guideline.
The rules I'm having problem with right now are personal writing rules. I like to tell a story in a linear direction and not loop back in time with extended flashbacks and scenes. That seems pretty straightforward, right? Except that it's in direct conflict with another personal rule, and that is that the major conflict is foreshadowed or shown in the first chapter. So which one to break? Well, they are just personal guidelines, and I think it's more important to show the conflict, so I'm writing it out of sequence and then quickly getting back on the linear track. It can work. It better work. *sigh*