I'm in editing mode lately. I like rules, love them in fact. Creating stories brings me a lot of joy, but I like to do it by honoring words and rules. Funny thing about grammar rules... they often change or become obsolete.
Sadly, this can happen just from repeated misuse. I noticed irregardless was defined in several online dictionaries. Irregardless. Is. Not. A. Proper. Word. (And yes, this sentence is an example of style over rule.)
I'm a strange breed. My favorite subjects in school were English and Math. I read everything I could get my hands on, but I loved systematically solving a difficult math problem. I found the perfect combination of interests in college when I took an internship at IBM to work in their finance department and write their corporate newsletter. Words and structure together... heaven.
I respect authors who own styles, who play fast and loose with the rules (as long as they are consistent). But the story has to be amazing to convince me to turn away from "the rules." Cormac McCarthy's The Road is such an example. The first fifty pages made me crazy, but the story won me over in the end. Note: there is no style that will make me accept misspelled words or using the following incorrectly: lose/loose, then/than, they're/their/there, its/it's, accept/except, and your/you're. Consider this a top six list.
As an editor, I respect the author's final wishes. One rule I think should never be played with is consistency. I'd rather see the same mistake repeated consistently throughout, to know the author owned it, than see it change throughout the book.
But I'm a grammar snob. Are you?
Note: Just because I'm a grammar snob does not mean I have superhuman skills. I constantly find errors in my work, even after several edits. I can absolutely look past a few errors in several hundred pages of material. It only starts distracting me when I can spot errors every few pages.
The first edition of our novel, Depression Cookies, had 32 errors in 543 pages. This after several rounds of edits, including a college English professor and a professional editor. Mom and I reissued a corrected edition. We couldn't sleep at night.