Deep POV: Confessions of a Christian Writer

The ramblings of an emergent-realistic-edgy-working-for-God-and-the-pay-isn’t-that-great-sometimes-confused-christian-fiction writer (uh, that would be me).

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

The Rules

This, you might say, is part of the ongoing rant of unpublished authors everywhere. I know I've heard versions of this from many writers.

When we, the unpubs, notice that the writing rules we're taught to revere, to memorize, to live by, have been broken by published writers, we're always told one thing: learn the rules before you break them. Okay, fair enough. There's certainly a difference between writing passive sentences and choosing to write them. However, I am beginning to wonder if sweating the rules is really the most important thing for a writer. I like rules--don't get me wrong. And I follow them in my writing. But, like other unpubs, when I read published works, I see a lack of attention to that kind of detail in both ABA and CBA works. I've just read a couple of ABA books considered "brilliant" by some of those who reviewed them. Right away, I noticed the POV shifts within scenes, something which is supposed to be a huge no-no. Yet, they were published and none of the reviews mentioned how these authors "head-hopped" from person to person, sometimes within paragraphs of one another.

I've always been good at POV and never had a problem understanding how to do it. Yet, I sometimes stray out of my main character's POV, usually in a subtle way. Or I go from a very deep POV to something more expansive or authorial. One of my crit partners usually mentions this. My question is: does this really matter? Will anyone ever notice that kind of thing especially when published authors are getting away with far greater "sins"? Am I spinning my wheels sweating over such details?

It seems to me that one of the most important "rules" about writing is that there are NO rules, really. In the end, it's all a matter of taste.
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