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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thursday Spotlight: Brenna Lyons

Spirit of The Law

“There are three rules in writing, and no one knows what they are.” Anon

Well, my personal three all involve treating writing as a career and presenting yourself as a professional, but today I'm referring to the things people tell you never to do in your writing.

Let me preface this by saying I'm the quintessential Libra. I want the rules and laws to make sense, though they rarely do. I firmly discard the idea of fair and unfair and substitute equal, equitable, or unjust.

I have never been a lawful good type of person. Neutral/unaligned maybe, but I was always the type that weighed the laws against needs and meeting those needs. I'm definitely a spirit of the law type of individual.

The reasons for the 'rules' are sound, though few rules should say never, in my opinion. Anything that pushes readers out of the story--that breaks the reader's immersion in the spell the author weaves--is a bad idea.

Head hopping makes the reader stop and sort whose head you're in. Head hopping is one of the few things I'd put a never to.

Some POV purists will tell you never to switch POV in a scene, even if you do it skillfully and don't confuse the reader on the way. Some POV purist editors won't sign a book that does it skillfully; some editors will. In the end, if you can change heads without losing the reader or disrupting the flow, whether or not to do it is a stylistic choice.

In the same way, many of the other 'rules' of writing are designed to discourage practices that novice writers often do poorly. In the end, I go with the spirit of the law. If the readers aren't evicted from immersion in the story, and you're not confusing them, it can probably be done skillfully enough to publish it, though the 'rules' say it's not allowed.

One thing never (oops, I said it again) to do is bait and switch a reader. If you write genre romance, there is an expectation of a HEA or HFN. Not every book requires one to be enjoyable; it just has to fit the characters, world, and plot. But, there is an expectation of a HEA/HFN in romance, as there is an expectation of a crime to be solved in mystery. If you bill your book as a certain genre, it has to meet the minimum requirements of that genre.


booklover0226 said...

I have read books where the POV changes in mid paragraph AND I got lost! I always blamed mystelf for not paying attention or being too tired...

BrennaLyons said...

It probably wasn't your fault, as reader. Changing in mid-paragraph is incredibly bad form. At least separate paragraphs, if not scenes, IMO.

Thanks for stopping by!