You don’t need story structure or WOARO to write. A lot of novels are made without them.
You can challenge character, language, and conventions as much as you desire. There aren’t absolute rules. Artistic choices are allowed.
Story structure was my way back into writing after struggling for 15 years, and it helped me write the stories I wanted to tell.
You get to choose.
However, you also have to know who you are writing for. If you are writing for yourself, do whatever you want. But if you hope to make it a career and write for an audience, you must understand the expectations. The novel has to rhyme enough to the genre that you're writing in that the reader will connect with it.
All rules can be broken—but it helps to understand them first, so you know when to ignore them.
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