If you have a high school diploma and a college degree, it can be assumed that you know the rules.
While I have a deep respect for English grammar, I believe we need to find that balance between discipline and creativity.
I dabbled for a time in cake decorating. There are basic rules and skills involved, and once you learn them you can become creative–even breaking the rules. For instance, the rule that layers of cake must be perfectly level can be beautifully broken:
Slaughterhouse-Five is considered a fantabulous book. And so it goes.
But don’t start a sentence with an AND.
And don’t use made-up words like fantablulous.
Why not? It’s well known that Shakespeare made up his own words. Eyeball, fashionable and manager are accredited to Shakespeare, along with over one thousand more.
So while publishers say that they are looking for the next great thing, they also are fearful of going out on a limb (to use a cliché, heavens!) of a first-time author who is bucking the trends and trying to give it to them.
Wanted: The next great, different story. Must also fit inside pre-ordained box. Must not color outside the lines.
And so it goes.