20 July 2011

Well, Art is Art, Isn't It?

Well, Art is Art, isn't it? Still, on the other hand, water is water. And east is east and west is west and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does. Now you tell me what you know.
Groucho Marx

I happened across a post at one of the blogs I regularly visit -Brazen Broads, and I've been thinking on it over the week.  The Broads welcomed a guest who defied the 'status-quo' within the romance genre.  She employed Dynamic Point Of View in her novel. 

What is dynamic point of view, you ask?  Simply, it is the inclusion of more than one point of view in a scene and/or the inclusion of more than only the hero and heroine's point of view within a novel.  I've heard it referred to as 'head hopping', but that just reminds me of a gang of bawdy sailors stopping in at various business establishments along their given path to ease the pain of too many beers at the last bar they invaded.  Maybe I know too many sailors.....but I digress....

As an avid reader whose tastes encompass many genres, I find it odd that romance is the only genre that holds to this restrictive standard.  This is especially disappointing as characters in love - and with misunderstandings abounding - are an ideal playground to employ the dynamic point of view.  I want to know what/how the hero is thinking and experiencing as well as the heroine.  And I certainly wouldn't mind getting into the mind of the villain, the butler, the love interest's rival, the protective father, or the scheming aunt.

Think of an empty room.  Now imagine that a designer fills that room with white flooring, white furniture, white window dressings, and white knickknacks.  Would there be some who thought that this room was stunning?  Of course!  But not many.  Most of us would probably say that the room lacked character or was too plain.  So, maybe the designer adds a splash of color with some blue throw pillows and a singular blue vase.  Now, even more would find the room to be appealing.  But we could certainly go on.

I think the written scene should be seen as the room.  Some people like minimalism.  So they are the ones who would like only one point of view in my analogy.  Others like a bit more, and they would like the room with just a splash of added color.  Still others, want a more layered effect, being thrilled with various shades of color mixed with contrasting textures.  Bulky, woven, natural fibers beside sleek, richly hued silks.  Chocolate faux fur atop a creamy, marble tiled floor.  These are the readers who would welcome and enjoy multiple points of view and remain comfortable transitioning from one to another seamlessly within a scene or story.  They like the rough feel of the hemp area rug underneath their feet while reclining on chenille throws atop a leather sofa. (That was a prepositional marathon...Whew!)

Now, would we dare to say that any of these room designs were wrong?  Not likely.  Because we understand that different people have different tastes.  We may prefer one over another...(we all have an ideal of beautiful, well-designed spaces)...but we accept that variety is the spice of life, no?  It's like that with books.  My favorite may be your flop, and vise-versa.  So why does the romance industry demand that we all be minimalists?

Absolutely, there are design faux-paux.  We've all seen a room that looks like a junkyard.  I don't believe anyone would say that was well designed (actually, we would argue that there was no design at all!), and that is true within the art of writing as well.  If no one can figure out who is doing the thinking or the talking or the scheming, then we have a problem.  But dynamic point of view can be done well.  It has been done well for many years by many authors - authors both outside the romance genre, and respected authors within it, too.

Progress on the Writing Front

Claiming The Prize is in the hands of my critique partner and beta readers!  I most readily heave a sigh of relief at having completed the typing and first read through.  Now, I wait.....Did I ever mention that I believe that waiting should be done by others?...(and what I mean by others is anyone but me)

Last night, I re-read the first half of Her Dark Baron, and resumed writing that juicy little tidbit.  I should have some goals drawn up for Sunday's post.  I must set a completion deadline. (Cracks the whip)

I continue to read my novel, Pilate's Wife, which grows more delicious by the page. 

That's about all I have to say....(it was more than enough I'd say)...for today, anyway.  Hope everyone at A Round Of Words in 80 Days check-in is having a knock-up week.  ~ Nadja


  1. I've been thinking about perspective and points of view a great deal over the past few weeks, wondering what is and isn't allowed. I wrote a few scenes using dynamic point of view for a now-abandoned story, and one of the critiques I was received was the fact that I didn't stick to a single perspective in the scene, but instead bounced between the protagonist and antagonist. I admit, ever since then I've been feeling a little nervous about 'breaking the rules' and all of that.

    An interesting note: one of my goals this summer has been to read as many regency romances by Georgette Heyer as possible. One thing that I have noticed is that she frequently writes scenes from perspectives other than the hero and heroine. "Sylvester" includes scenes written from the point-of-view of the heroine's best friend, and maybe 1/3 of "The Convenient Marriage" is told from the perspective of the heroine's brother.

  2. Hi, new follower :) Found your link over at ROW80.

    I just wanted to say I LOVE the dynamic point of view and really loved your metaphore for it. I think more books should be written from multiple POVs. One of my WIPs is written from 3 and I might add in a 4th.

    Sounds like you're making great progress with your goals, keep up the hard work :)

  3. Thanks ladies!
    Jamila, I have read one book by Heyer, The Devil's Cub, and I also liked her style. I know what you mean about those critiques that seem to loathe dynamic point of view. In the end, we must write what pleases us.
    K.V. ~ Thanks for stopping by! Glad to meet you. I enjoy the dynamic point of view also... (as if you didn't know that from my post!) :) I'm encountering many readers who feel the same way. ~ Nadja

  4. I am starting a longer piece (hopefully, maybe, one day!) and am in the planning stages. I am stuck on which perspective to write it from and can't decide between writing from one character to several characters points of view. I plan to try one way and see how I feel!

    Hope the rest of your week goes well!

  5. Em ~ Glad to hear you have something new in the wings! New projects are so exciting. It is difficult to make these decisions, especially when there is the possibility that after getting 15k into it, you may decide you want to try the other option. That can be disheartening. But you'll never know unless you 'give it a whirl'! Good luck. ~ Nadja

  6. I love the many points of view style of writing, it gives more depth, feeling, and gets the reader more involved or connected. To hell with the 'system'. You said it: art is art. But the last half of that statement is: and art is truly so to the artist. Let the willing flocks agregate to your style, thus establishing YOUR fanbase/following. All others will diverge to what they like. Good for them, but better for you. The more you try to please and adhere to everyone's standard, the more unlike YOUR story is being told.

  7. I'm not keen on Dynamic POV in one chapter. But obviously, as Compis is written that way, I would say I'm a fan of it, when it is properly separated by chapter. :)

  8. I just ordered Compis to my Kindle. Now that I know it is written in dynamic pov, I'm even more eager to start reading. ~ Nadja

  9. The only thing is that, as a reader, I like staying in one character's head for a while. If the author skips back and forth multiple times within the same few paragraphs, it gets a bit jarring.
    But I'm all for omniscient when it's done well!

  10. Ha! I like 'omniscient' almost as much as 'dynamic point of view'......But I do agree with you in that it must be well done. ~ Nadja