perspective on perspective, or pov

I just today ran across a really good post from back in 2006 on Justine Larbalestier‘s weblog. It’s about (so-called) head-hopping (rapid shifting of point of view) and the general belief that such techniques are bad bad bad. She says:

Let me repeat: no writing technique is bad per se. Sure, it can be done badly, but that’s an entirely different issue. Writing that obeys all the writing workshop rules and deploys not a single adjective or adverb can also completely suck.

I have friends who are on this no-pov-shifting bandwagon, and who are quite vocal about it. For example, Jenny Crusie has been very clear about her dislike of rapid POV shifting. Now, I love her to death, but on this, I’m sorry to say, I think she’s got the wrong end of the proverbial stick.

Justine’s post is worth reading because she backs up her position with a lot of interesting observations This is one of those anti rules-of-thumb: If you are good enough, you can break any rule and not only get away with it, but pull off something wondrous.

In the spirit of full disclosure: I do sometimes use rapid POV shifting as a technique in certain kinds of scenes. A few people have emailed over the years to ask me why I would commit such a crime. I think now now that question has been answered, more by Justine than by me.

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