Monday, June 02, 2008

Breaking More Rules

I just read a book by Alice Hoffman, Here On Earth. Riveting. Wonderful. I highly recommend it. Alice writes an easy read, with fully developed characters. She weaves the backstory in and out, and she does it in such a way one would hardly notice.

One thing, however. She switches point-of-view often. And I mean ... within the paragraph, even. One minute you're in Gwen's head, thinking her thoughts, the next--you're in March's head, remembering her past. Masterfully done, however.

I wonder. Are the rules meant only for the unpublished? What am I missing?

It doesn't matter; it worked. I was never confused. Not once. The book was well written and kept me reading until the end. I see why one of Jodi Piccoult's favorite authors is Alice Hoffman. I'm going to be on the lookout for her work. My point is, it's interesting as a writer to read the popular authors. To study what they do that makes their work stand out in the massive amounts of submissions to New York. I'm fascinated that so much of what we learn -- we unlearn. I'm realizing that a key to writing a great story, is practice. There are other things, but it's that good old fashioned work ethic, the diligence, persevering when you don't feel like writing ... practice.

It's what molds us into the writers who can bend, break, and blow all the rules right out of the How To Write books.

According to Don Maass (Literary Agent) it takes ten years to become a breakout novelist. What I think he was saying is that it takes ten years to learn the rules well enough to know how to break them and make it work.

Blessings to you and yours.

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