Writing Rules?

We all know there are some pretty basic and unwavering rules when it comes to writing.

Rules are necessary. Imagine a world with no stop signs or red lights. Traffic would be a mess!

We know that correct grammar and punctuation is a must. Avoid overusing adverbs (ly) words. Avoid telling words such as see, hear, feel, touch. Don’t write long run-on sentences – the shorter the better. Avoid crutch words like, just, really, well and very. Show don’t tell is a biggie! And then there is Point of View. And, that’s what I want to talk about today.

The basic rule for Point of View, in a third-person story, is that you don’t switch points of view in the middle of a scene. Right? Stay in one person’s POV throughout the scene and then you can get inside another person’s head in the next scene. They call it head-hopping if you do. BUT… you know what they say about that word – everything before it means nothing.

What if you pick up a book that switches POV in the middle of a scene, but the story is so riveting and gripping, you notice, but don’t care?

That happened to me this week.

I read a book that came highly recommended by several avid readers I know and they were absolutely right about it. Where The Crawdads Sing is a debut novel written by Delia Owens.

This book has (as of today) 3,871 reviews on Amazon. Wow! It is #1 on Amazon this week and it has shot Delia Owens to the top of the New York Times Bestseller list for nineteen weeks in a row. It was published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin. As you well know that is pretty much the top of the heap of the Big 5 Publishers.

That publishing company has a team of staff editors who work with every manuscript on various levels. So, it made me wonder if the POV rule that has been pounded into us going away? Or is the key to bending the rule, writing a story that is so compelling that even the editors don’t care about sticking to the POV rule?

Could it be that the influx of Indie Authors who tend to bend the rules anyway, cause a change of thinking about certain writing rules? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

In the meantime, I’m not going to write a review for this book, but I am going to say that it is such a compelling story, I won’t forget it for a very long time.

Here’s the blurb from Amazon:

#1 New York Times Bestseller
A Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick

“I can’t even express how much I love this book! I didn’t want this story to end!”–Reese Witherspoon

“Painfully beautiful.”–The New York Times Book Review

“Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver.”–Bustle

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.