Tuesday, February 2, 2010

So Close to Perfection...If I was a Hydra

I just finished reading a steampunk paranormal romance that was so close to being brilliant. The plot, the prose, the pacing, the dialogue, the world building, all of it was spectacular.

The problem? Head Hopping.

Flagrant, willy-nilly, no discernible pattern, head-hopping kept me from becoming one with the pages. I couldn't get lost in the tale because I was lost in who thought what about whom. Worse? Random characters stole paragraphs to spout their POV. Some of those characters weren't secondary characters, some were third or fourth (disposable) characters. At one point, five characters dickered on one page.
Why? Why? Why?  
A little more effort and this author would have been promoted to illustrious "pre-order hardback" status.

But, KAK, to properly convey all of the nuances of the scene, multiple Points of View (POV) were required.
Malarkey. That is lazy writing. If the first draft is a big puked up pile of POVs, fine. The point of a first draft is get the story written. Second draft summons the POV police. One POV per scene. Protags are allowed to have a POV and sometimes the antag. More than that and the author does a bibbety-bobbety-boo on the beloved reader, changing a voracious bibliophile into an irritated hydra. You mock? Only something with nine heads can keep up with characterus-interruptus-whosiesaidwhatists.

Pfft. There are lots of published authors who change POV with each paragraph. If they do it so can I.
Somewhat true. There are well known hydra fangirls who publish multiple books and series in different genres. Their forums are robust with dedicated readers who name children after characters and get inked based on cover art. Do you know how they attracted that fan base? Their worlds, their characters, and their plots were so strong that the combination compensated for laborious back-tracking and guessing. Imagine their success had they combined the trio of assets with strong story-telling.

Writing is an art. Rise to the level of artist or sink into the clutches of the hydra.

What do you know? You're not a best seller or an editor.
Fine. Don't take my word for it, take theirs:
Writer's Digest's Jane Friedman & Guest Blogger Jim Adam "Point of View: Stories Are About People"

Remember: Hydras eat things. They don't buy things...like, say, your next book.

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