Universal Rules

universeYesterday, on Janet’s blog, the subject of rules was brought up. There were some interesting comments. I had this little gem from the Universe tucked back in my files and this seemed like a good time to bring it out.

Never create rules, Silver. Not ever.

Not for others. And especially not for yourself.

Unless, of course, this is your rule.

Born free,
~~The Universe

Don’t you love simple, Silver?

There are certain “writing rules” that really chafe my @$$. Limited POV/POV shifts is one of them. Not mixing genres is another. Hello. My name is Silver. I am a cross-genre writer and I “head hop.” I’ve discovered a term for how I write: the Cinematic POV. Sounds classy, doesn’t it? Lawyer Guy came up with it. I have to give him credit. When I read, I want to know what EVERYONE is thinking. I want to see the scene through their eyes. Screenwriters handle this with POV shifts within the script. I don’t understand why fiction writers can’t do the same thing–well, besides certain editors proclaiming “That’s the rule!”

Guess what? There are writer’s out there who do this. Nora Roberts (especially in her JD Robb persona) does this–and does it quite effectively. Okay, I will admit that there might be writers out there who should follow the rule. If the technique doesn’t flow naturally, it can be an unmitigated mess.

Rules can stifle creativity. Rules can curb the imagination. Rules can get in the way of the storytelling. But at the same time, I believe a writer should be aware of the rules before breaking them. Or ignoring them. Or making up new rules.

Writers, what writing rules make you crazy? Readers, what broken rules drive you crazy when you read? But more importantly, are you born free?!? 😉

About Silver James

I like walks on the wild side and coffee. Lots of coffee. Warning: My Muse runs with scissors. Author of several award-winning series--Moonstruck, Nightriders MC, The Penumbra Papers, and Red Dirt Royalty (Harlequin Desire) & other books! Purveyor of magic, mystery, mayhem and romance. Lots and lots of romance.
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6 Responses to Universal Rules

  1. Janet says:

    Well, you already know how I feel about the rules, Silver 😉 As for a reader, I enjoy the multiple POV (love your moniker: Cinematic POV) if it’s done right. If it’s not, it takes me out of the story. As for being ‘born free’, I’m working on it (I’ve always been a rule follower and list maker – trying to become more Zen-like)!!

    • Silver James says:

      I keep hearing Frank Sinatra singing “My Way”. 😆

      I definitely agree–one has to know *how* to cover multiple POVs. It can be distracting. I like to think I know how to do it. 🙄 On the other hand, I’ve also been pulled out of a book because a writer switches POV as the rule dictates but then covers the exact same action. Just tell me the story, mkay? 😉

  2. I don’t understand why fiction writers can’t do the same thing–well, besides certain editors proclaiming “That’s the rule!” – EXACTLY! I’ve been a voracious reader my whole life and I didn’t know what ‘head hopping’ was until I became a writer and someone in this industry told me it was ‘a very bad thing’. And I forced myself to narrow the POV down in my own work because of it. Re-reading an older manuscript of mine last night, I noticed where I shifted into the POV of a character whose perspective I hadn’t used before. My first thought was ‘head hop’, but I was already partway through the scene. At that point, in that scene, it needed to be from someone else’s perspective. And it worked.

    As long as it works, feh for their supposed rules.

    And tell LG he nailed it with “Cinematic POV”. Perfect.

    • Silver James says:

      I thought LG did good with that! 😆 I think a writer has to be comfortable. They should know their craft well enough to know what works and what doesn’t within their own voice. When they are in their comfort zone, the story flows and that’s what matters!

      One of the best compliments I ever got was an editor telling me that no matter what genre I was writing, he knew it was me from my voice. I was STUNNED! And then I was doing a bunch of virtual fist pumping.

  3. jblynn says:

    I think that rules provide a framework of familiarity that benefits the reader as much as the writer. I also think it’s great to break the rules…provided there’s a reason to do it. 🙂

    • Silver James says:

      Absolutely, JB! Again, it goes back to the writer’s preferred method and their comfort zone. When a writer is confident in their skills and storytelling, it shows. The readers pick up on it and the experience is more enjoyable for them, which is the bottom line for me as a writer. 😀

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