Friday, October 29, 2010

First Book I've Ever Set Aside

1:08 AM | ,

Now... I'm not going to names, first and foremost.

But tonight I set aside the first book that I've ever picked up and started to read. The book was published by a house I usually gobble up everything they put out. The author was new to me. (And if you've watched my posts at Cascade -- no it wasn't one of the two books I mentioned there that I was interested in.)

In the first three pages of the story I changed points of view so many times it was frightening. And that just set off the nails on chalkboard feeling for me. So, I literally tossed the book aside. I don't know about the rest of you, but after listening to class after class on craft, I have become more or less a POV purist. I want the change blended smoothly if it isn't at a scene or chapter break, and I want to stay there for at least a page. I don't like author intrusion -- when a character starts describing things they couldn't possibly see/know about themselves -- and I don't like to feel like a ping-pong ball when I'm trying to follow a story.

Ask my poor crit partners... these things drive me nuts.

I even double-checked the publication date on the novel -- 2010. The cover was awesome. The premise really enthused me... but wow... I just can't get past the head hopping and author intrusion and how it cleared an editor's desk. Espeically out of this house where everything is usually something that makes me wish I had written the book.

Anyway, it got me thinking about how I've grown. I remember one early critique partner pointing out my head hopping, and to think that my personal writing avoids even the blended POV shift now is kinda funny.

I've heard pre-published authors talking about "Well so and so does it..." and I hadn't really realized how much of this still happens beyond some of the big, established names. (And to my knowledge this author doesn't qualify as "big" "established"). But now I can see where confusion comes from. I can see how come folks have trouble with "my manuscript was rejected for head hopping" when published authors are doing this.

Have you all noticed this? I say, I have to toss my hat into the "confused" pile now.

Anyway -- Folks, don't succumb to the 'cheat' of head hopping. There's a place and a time to switch POV, and it isn't a bad thing to switch POV. But switching every three to four paragraphs tends to infuriate readers like me.

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Alta said...

Nothing wrong with putting away a book that's not working for you. Not with all the choices there are. It took me a long time not to feel bad about that. But I realized, the irritating book was gobbling up the time I could have spent on a good book, and it was time to move on.

I will say, being in a crit group, well, it's ruined some books for me. When I see things in the published book I'm holding, that I've been pinged for, it's kind of irritating.
I've spent so much time in edits on my first book, as well as contests, and crits for others, that my mind doens't leave crit mode behind so easily - the switch is alwasy in the on position. It's made me a pickier reader.

Alta said...

As an example of my last statement...dang it, I misspelled always...

The Dreamweavers said...

You're funny! Umm, just between us... doesn't looks funny, too: ) But I still love yoooouuu.

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