Rule Breaker

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” – Picasso

A fantastic bit of advice, but as a “pre-published” writer, not one I can enjoy. Me gaining experience being the most convincing reason. Giving the wrong impression to agents, another.

Even so, I sometimes break one. One that even contest judges have appreciated because the transition was smooth and the tension spiked – switching POV (point of view) during an intimate scene without a scene break. (I’m talking about trade length fiction, not category romance, novellas.)

Writers, editors, and agents have dug in on this issue in several camps. Near the tent, the staunch “Don’t do it, ever” are huddled around the “this works” fire. I appreciate the warmth that outlook provides because the last thing a writer should do is confuse the reader. The next bunch are willing to wander from the fire to dip their toes into the mountain stream of pacing and voice. “You may change POV once during the scene, but that’s IT.” Okay. Hmm.

As an author who writes in close third person, I should write a scene in the character’s POV of whomever has the greatest stakes. Who has the most to lose? Or struggling the most? That’s the “head” we should invade. Obviously the protagonist gets first dibs because it’s her story.

So what if both characters are experiencing high stakes, have something to lose, and are risking something huge to have this intimate moment? To come together and create something new. Doesn’t the reader want to hear from both people?

Bestselling authors shift the POV. Seamlessly. I’ll let their readers answer that question.

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