SBD, spoiled by The Rules

This probably goes with the romance unleashed/romance-to-kill-for thing. Miss Information. But it's a rant so I'll make it a SBD and then I get to say hey at Beth's.

Multiple POVs are happening in every damn book I'm reading (no romances at the moment) and the truth is they're not badly done. Sure some of the shifts are fast, but you can easily figure out by context etc whose head we're in. The trouble is I've been beaten by the romance world rules, and rule number one is We Are In The Heroine Or Hero's POV Period. No one else. And we are told we are supposed to stick around for a long time. Even a chapter, dammit.

Anyway, no one told this to these authors of YA and kids' books. So when I read, I see the rules being broken and then I'm pulled away from fantasy land.

I hate that this crapola standard intrudes in my reading. I have the automatic "uh oh! you shouldn't be in that boy's head! He's not important in this story." or maybe "What the hell are you doing in the dog's POV? Huh?"

Except I like the dog's POV. I want to know what it feels like when you're a dog and someone yells at you and you have no idea what's going on. And I want to feel the embarrassed butler's response when the besotted lovers start necking on the divan. I mean we've had the besotted lovers so long, let's get a break from them, hey?

Who became Romance Riting God and decided this was the way it had to be? but that's what the contest rules demand--I see it on the forms when I judge. That's what the editors probably notice, too. Maybe. Certainly the series romance editors must notice the POV thing. I remember going to a talk where a writer mentioned she was the first to put in the hero's POV in the Harlequin/Sillhouette line she wrote for. Before her, all books were strictly third person limited to the heroine. (Or so she said.)

OOOOOooor maybe this is yet again one of those stupid things based on something a famous writer did a few years back, so now we all have to do it.

Another example. We abandoned the word "said" for action tags.

THEN: "Okay," he said
NOW: He moved across the room and touched the doorknob before turning and nodding. "Okay."

And now when I read a book written a few years ago, every "said" jumps out at me. I want the word to go back to being invisible. I liked that old life.

Who started all this, huh?


  1. Our local chapter of the Romance Writers just did a workshop on 'The Rules'. We were shown fabulous examples of blatantly broken rules and kept drawing the same conclusion: Any rule can be broken, if it's done well.
    But it's so incredibly stifling for a writer to have all of these ridiculous rules, isn't it? You're trying your damnest to stay true to the story but the Do's and Don'ts keep interfering. GRRRRRR

  2. I actually like the no head-hopping rule, because I hated the Da Vinci Code.

    No, it doesn't make sense.

    I like having to figure out how to get across what I want to say through only two characters, although if it's done well (do not see DaV.C., above), i don't care.

  3. Anonymous10:04 AM

    I hate that rule too, and now that you mention it, I bet that's why my last romance kept piling up rejections. I hopped around a bit in that first chapter. But it worked for me, and it works/worked for thousands of other writers. So bah. I will continue as I see fit.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

sbd--florence stonebraker

Nude Blogging