Sunday, November 17, 2013

The ONE Way

When I was young, very young, I thought there was only ONE way. The RIGHT way. But an indication of maturity is when we finally realize there are many ONE ways, dependent on cultural background, education, and personal preference and experience.

This is true whether we consider the correct way to make scrambled eggs or ponder the identity of a higher power. Our way is not necessarily our neighbor's way.

In the last few months I've noticed an elitist attitude creeping into discussions about writing. This attitude has nothing to do with grammar or spelling or plot. No, it refers to Point Of View. One group will castigate writers who use first person. Another will vociferously protest third person omniscient. Some folks self-righteously proclaim all romances should be written in third person with no POV changes.

I just want clarity.

As long as I can tell who's saying what, I don't give a flying fig leaf how the writer conveys that information. Is the story interesting? Does it engage my heart and brain? If not, it could be the most meticulously written book of the year, but I WON'T FINISH IT.

AND I WON'T BUY ANOTHER ONE by that author.

Since I've been on sabbatical, I've paid close attention to the writing style of my favorite authors--authors I read over and over, even to the point of nearly knowing the stories by heart. And what I discovered is POV is not all that important.

I grant you, it's best not to leap around, paragraph to paragraph, but CLARITY is the thing. There is no ONE way to present the story. Writer after writer after writer has proven that. Many of those stories we all had to read in high school were written in a mish-mash of POV. They must have been doing something right. Right?


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