People LOVE to tell you what they think about your writing, don’t they? At least they do in my life.
The thing about taking advice on any subject is that all of it should be taken with a grain of salt.
Another salty truth about my every day life is that I don’t know very many bookish people. Scratch that. I don’t know many people–period. So, when I have a question–namely a writing-related question–I Google it.
THE TROUBLE WITH GOOGLE …
Too much information. When you type your question into the search engine, thousands of results pop up and then you have to sift.
I typed “Mixing first and third POV,” into Google. My first click to me to this advice in a writers digest forum: “If the first person is not a part of a scene then the scene is not a part of the story. If there is information the reader must have, then have a character tell the first person about the event or go with third.”
Then, after alittle more searching, I came upon this advice over at Advanced Fiction Writing blog (advice which I think is much better than most writing blogs out there):
There is no rule that says that all parts of a story must be written in the same POV.
Diana Gabaldon’s bestselling novel Dragonfly in Amber mixed first person and third person POV throughout the story. The reader was never confused. And that’s what matters — you want your reader to never be confused. If you execute your story well, you can switch between first person and third person smoothly. … Be careful in taking advice. Not all critiquers are created equal. And some of them, even when they are giving sound advice, don’t know how to make it clear just how certain they are of being correct.
Knowing this doesn’t comfortably affix my plan to tough out the storyline through a single narrative, because, honestly, it would be MUCH easier to let the reader see what’s going on back home while my main character is off on his fantastically dangerous journey through the multiverse.
When I first began my writing journey, I was eager to learn the “Writing Do’s And Don’t’s” And so I searched for this elusive set of rules that, when followed carefully, would land me squarely on top of the best-sellers list. Of course, the Advance Fiction Writing blog was ready to set me straight on that fallacy as well, as you’ll see in the quote below.
I often hear novice novelists complain about the “rules.” These “rules” are allegedly fixed in stone and nobody can violate them. That just isn’t true. There are very few unbreakable rules in fiction writing. There are many rules of thumb. Some of them work so well and so often that you should be wary of ignoring them.
But most of these “rules” can be broken, if you know what you’re doing. You’ll know when you can break one of the “rules” after you’ve learned them so well that you can follow them without thinking.
So, here’s to hoping that I’m not breaking a major rule in switching between first and third narratives in my upcoming novel.
But, you know what? James Patterson does it in his Women’s Murder Club novels and those books are pretty successful.
I may not know what I’m doing, but I’m going to forge ahead anyhoo. Because at the end of the day, this is my story. I’m the one who answers for telling it, so I may as well tell it however the heck I want.