Monday, May 10, 2010

A New World

I went through three drafts of things to blog about today. My mind is mush. More to the point, my mind is on point of view (POV) –or pronoun hell, as I will call it today.

A lot of unpublished writers ask the question, does what POV you use matter? Often, they will hear, go with what works for the story.

Nope. Sorry. Wrong answer.

When asking questions like this, you have got to consider the source when you receive an answer. Is it from an established writer? Well established? Guess what, he/she probably can get away with doing what she wants BECAUSE she is established. She has the sales to back up a publisher taking the risk of a writer experimenting.

Is the source from an unpublished, unagented writer? Then they might not have any experience in trying to get published.

The truth is, POV does matter. Publishing is a business. They have operating rules and it behooves the writer to know them.

Romance, for instance, demands third person *big grin*. Young Adult, on the other hand, does really well with first person.

You, the writer, need to learn what rules apply to your genre and operate within those parameters.

But what about writer X,Y,Z? They didn’t follow the rules. Yeah, it is a new world out there. Publishing is a timid mouse right now. What sold ten, twenty years ago might not sell right now. This is expected, understandable. Our economy is in the tank, people need their jobs and risk isn’t really an option for many. This is happening all over the map, not just in publishing.

Now, you can write whatever you want, but if you are trying to get published, know this basic fact: your book needs to fit solidly on the shelves if a publisher is going to pick it up. Which means that though your story should be fresh and well told, it also has to fit in and play nicely with the other kids.

Study your genre. Learn what fits and what doesn’t. More importantly, read up on editors –not agents. Learn what EDITORS are looking for. Why? Because they are the people who buy your book. Don’t forget that. And don’t forget, an agent is only the first step. Hooking an editor is a whole other ball game.

That is all. Now I’m going back to the grindstone. Writing away. :)


  1. Too true, Kristen. I know I'm probably doomed to re-write my WIP down the track, from the current mix of first and third, to third only. Sigh. The perils of starting a book when I had no clue about what I was doing ...

  2. Play nicely with the other kids is right - especially cos mine doesn't seem to do so. I'm thinking that after I finish Rose's story, I'm going to have to go back and overhaul Austin's story one more time. Ack!