Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Rebel, rebel

There's a lot of talk about rules in writing. And I have to cheerfully admit that I break a lot of them when I write.

I will write from more than one POV. I think I know how to do that so that my readers don't get lost. And it works for the story and the characters and me.

I switch up tenses. I use flashbacks and internal dialogue.

I don't do all of those things all of the time, but I do them all because I think it serves the story I'm telling and I think my readers are smart enough to understand.

I'm really wrestling with some of the choices I made in one of the two novels currently making me crazy, and they center on POV and tense. I'm just not sure what is going to work, and until I figure it out nothing good is going to come out of my feeble attempts at writing more.

So tell me. What rules do you break? And how do you make your decisions about such things in your work?


  1. I make creative writing choices which make SJ's head go 'splody~~ I should know~~ she's told me that enough times.

    And why? Because I do switch POVs--- mid reality. Mid-historical time line. I luv to mess around with Alternate Realities to the point that the poor gal can't keep up.

    But my other readers can!

    So, I keep doing it--- because!--- I get positive feedback for the rollercoaster ride I've put my characters on.

    And who says you shouldn't use internal dialogue? For pity sakes! That's half the fun of reading the novel before seeing the movie. hee~!

    ttfn, susan

  2. I love the rollercoaster rides you put your characters (and me) on.

    Even if it does make my head go 'splody sometimes. :)

  3. Huh...well writing crossover fan fiction is a bit of a rule breaker for someone who wants to be "serious". Fan fiction is like crack--you just can't stop once you start.

    I write multiple points of view, although not mid chapter (no reader whiplash). Let's see... my original novel is mired in flashback. My other original novel (both unfinished of course) has almost as many characters as the show "Lost" (apt comparison given my overall confusion).

    Um...I'm sure you guys can tell me what other rules I break.

  4. The thing here I think is that when I read your stuff, I never notice the 'breaking of the rules' because I'm busy being immersed in the good writing that's telling me the story.

    That's the key, I think. The choices you make work in the context of the story. I keep coming back to the importance of honesty and respect and organic unfolding of a story.

    I'm so predictable. :)

  5. Rules? What rules? LOL

    Jokes aside, when something works, when the reader non only isn't lost but enjoys the tale, when the writer feels comfortable with the flow of words, rules are not that important – with the exception of *respect*. On that I agree with you: respect for the characters, the reader and the consistency of the story. The rest – usually – takes care of itself.

    Except my errant POVs, but that's why I depend on expert help! ;)

    And I love internal dialogues too, btw. Maybe too much…

  6. We don't need no stinking rules.

    You are absolutely correct. When something works, it works for the story, for the characters, for the writer, and for the reader.

    I hear you about the whole POV thing. Poor Eva. :)

    I'm totally with you feeling the internal dialogue love.

  7. I think I break all rules at one point. In all honesty, I don't think there really are any rules. Everyone just keeps making things up for some reason. To sound smart or something? I don't know.

    Right now, as you know, I'm breaking the flashback rule. That's just a dumb rule.

  8. I hear you about the whole POV thing. Poor Eva

    I always envision her running all over the place with a blunt object, knocking down my errant POVs, while they squeal helplessly trying to run to safety... LOL
    Poor Eva indeed!