It is important for writers to learn the rules of their craft. I am not talking about the rules of arc or narrative, but the rules of construction. The mechanics are as necessary as the woven magic of fabric that covers them.
If you don't follow grammar and construction rules, life gets confusing for your readers. Without quotation marks, we wouldn't know who was speaking. If you don't consider where a sentence ends, it gets to be a huge tangle for your readers.
I find Joyce Carol Oates to be an extremely difficult author to follow because of her run-on sentences with a million commas. I am probably one of the only people to feel that way. I don't want to have to run around breathless from mechanics; make me breathless with your storyline and characters!
I have difficulties with grammar, too (if you haven't noticed). I can't keep up with each comma. I find myself making sure I have three sentences to a paragraph when I'm writing a story. I try not to start a sentence with a conjunction. I am more lax with myself while blogging but I still worry. Sometimes, it makes it impossible to focus on the story at hand.
People talk about breaking the rules when it comes to what to do and not do in a novel but what about the grammar rules? Can you use more than one semicolon in a sentence? Can we italicize every word in dialogue? How do we know?