Monday, April 27, 2015

How Do You Feel About Change? By Linda S. Glaz

I grew up on Bronte, Austen, Jack London, and much later, Mary Higgins Clark.
How do you feel about change? Changes like: get rid of dialogue tags, tell the adverbs to disappear, get deeper into the POV, don’t head hop, omniscient is losing favor, and on and on and on.
Everything in life changes. We all know that, but how do you feel about recent changes or suggestions in the writing industry? Our villains and heroes used to growl, snarl, bark, and sneer. Heroines would purr, coo, murmur, and sigh. And while we still see that from time to time, it seems to have moved over for stronger physical action around the dialogue. Do you like that, or do you miss the hisses and chirps?
I remember not long ago when women did housework cheerily, and husbands, after a long day, responded impatiently. Children played happily, cats purred lazily, and dogs barked aggressively. What happened to the good old days when folks’ actions and dialogue were always followed by an adverb? Did we need them to beef up weak verbs, or was it just an old habit that desperately needed to change?
Little seems to be written in omniscient unless it’s by an author who has written that way for decades and his or her readers expect it, accept it. Is that a good thing, or has the push for a deeper POV in order to get to know a character better the best style? Does it matter?
Will you keep reading if there is head hopping page by page? Is it different for you if the author is male? Will you tolerate more distance from the character if you’re reading a male author? Do you only truly expect deep POV from a female author? Warm fuzzies, touchy feely only from female authors? Inspy vs. secular stories? Does it matter whether the story is plot driven vs. character driven, or have we come to expect these changes across the board?
How do you feel about changes, and how has it affected your writing?
None of us like change, and for good reason. Sometimes it works for the good, and sometimes…not so much.


Tom Threadgill said...

Change doesn't bother me as long as it's done well. I can handle things like head hopping if the author knows how to do it. The story always takes precedence, and if the writing starts to detract from it, I'm done. You can have the best story in the world, but if it's poorly written why in the world would I try to fight through it?

Linda Glaz said...

Amen, brother. So much can be forgiven for the sake of an amazing story. The unfortunate part is: every author thinks their story is amazing and that they can break all the rules because of it. That's when it's sad and I hardly know how to tell someone that.

Diana Flegal said...

Great post - I have to admit even as an agent that it's hard to keep up with the changes.

Linda Glaz said...

It is.

Linda Glaz said...

If only things were carved in granite, but when we say story trumps all else, and then expect to see changes, it's not only confusing for the author, but for me, too!!!

Sandra Ardoin said...

Linda, I'm one who at times responds to change with a "Yikes!" attitude. As a writer and reader, I love deep POV and action beats, but I'm learning that it's okay (and preferable) to write "said" sometimes. The hardest part for me is to write a character's physical reactions in a fresh way. I feel like I write and read too many racing pulses, blinking eyes, clenching guts, etc.

Linda Glaz said...

Sandra, you bring up a very valid point. How long before the physical action will become too much to bear. And then we'll be looking for a fresh option. I guess that's us, as writers, as readers, while we like what is comfortable, we are also always looking for fresh options, fresh voices, fresh storylines, and we all know there are only so many scenarios. I love the blinking eyes. I had one manuscript where it was pointed out that my heroine blinked her eyes so much, she must have had dry eye disease. LOL Thank you. Point well taken!

Anna Read said...

I hope I don't sound like a terrible writer when I say that adverbs and creative dialogue tags (when used appropriately) don't bother me. I try to stay away from them in my own writing, but I can't say I completely understand why these things have such a terrible rap today. The only faux pas that makes me wonder "who is this publisher?" is spelling errors (oh, and grammatical errors).

Thanks for this post!

Pegg Thomas said...

I love to go back and read the classics with their old prose. Last week I read The Blue Castle. Lovely tale told in omniscient POV, which I thoroughly enjoyed. But I enjoy deep POV as well. What matters most is - is it a good story?