Literary fiction, headhopping, writing “rules”, and self expression

As I’m writing Deification’s sequel, I’m fully aware of my “head-hopping”, but here’s the thing— I like it.

I write omniscient third-person narratives which means they see everything everyone is doing in a scene. Why shouldn’t they also see what everyone in the scene is feeling? This is how I write. I’m not changing it. It makes sense to me (even as someone with a BA in English), and writing is art. It shouldn’t be bound by what others expect to deem “correct”. It should come from the artists exactly as it’s meant to. If that style isn’t for you, then don’t pick up books written in it. But don’t be shitty and act superior.

Literary fiction explores characters and their minds, and I’m not going to neglect a character and his thoughts and feelings simply because I’ve just described his scene-partner’s thoughts and feelings. This is how a conversation works; a dance, a relationship. It isn’t everyone and everything as an extension of one person. It is two (or more depending on the scenario) human beings with their brains and their minds and their souls and their considerations. Both parties have all of these things, and both parties deserve equal attention. I intend to always provide my characters with full and vivid descriptions of their inner workings.

Again, if this is a style you don’t enjoy, that’s fine, but you won’t convince me (I reiterate, someone who is university-educated on literature) that it’s an improper way to write.

I remember a facebook livestream of Anne Rice’s where people asked her for writing advice. Her responses were always bracketed by some sort of disclaimer “this is just works for me, if it doesnt work for you, throw it in the trash” and her adoration of writing as one of the most individualistic forms of art and expression and career-choice.

We do not have to be confined to boxes to be writers or readers. But if you walk into a world that isnt depicted in the way you’ve grown accustomed, consider allowing its habitants to tell you their story without judging their methods. Be openminded. If it’s not for you when you close the cover, then it isn’t, but THAT DOES NOT MEAN IT IS INCORRECT OR SUBPAR.

I cannot stress enough how gatekeeping hurts art and artists; how your negative comments could cause someone to change their artistic style and how we all might lose out on a great piece of literature because of that change.

Im not saying there is never room for improvement— I’m saying that your prefernce shouldnt be labeled as someone’s need to improve.

Example: I hate country music. I absolutely detest it. But if I reviewed a country album saying “the voice had a twang and there were no huge bass drums or furiously fast breakdowns,” that wouldnt be a fair accessment of the work. That is projecting my preference of metal music onto a work that simply is not trying to appeal to me. Instead my review should have gone “well, I hate country, but the artist can clearly sing and make a melody.”

Lets not confuse passionate and talented work for subpar writing because we’re too egotistical to accept that something can be great without being our favorite genre.

End rant, I guess?

TLDR: be open minded about art. Stop gatekeeping.

5 thoughts on “Literary fiction, headhopping, writing “rules”, and self expression

  1. You are my new writing hero!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU for saying what needs to be said. “Head hopping” was fine until the 80s and then someone decided it wasn’t.
    If the masters could write amazing books and head hop – why can’t we.
    These lines – This is how I write. I’m not changing it. It makes sense to me (even as someone with a BA in English), and writing is art. It shouldn’t be bound by what others expect to deem “correct”. It should come from the artists exactly as it’s meant to. If that style isn’t for you, then don’t pick up books written in it. But don’t be shitty and act superior.

    That should be above every writer’s writing area. I write like me!! Don’t hate because I do.

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you – for this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I whole-heartedly and whole-brainedly agree about trying to be open-minded about art. What clicks for me doesn’t have to click with everyone else. I would imagine some readers very much prefer first-person narratives in stories, as that style gets really personal with the character. But there are other readers who are fine with third-person narratives.

    The same is true with other techniques. I’ve had conversations where people didn’t enjoy non-linear storytelling (such as the first season of “True Detective”). These friends didn’t insult the technique, simply said it wasn’t for them. I’d much rather hear that instead of a reader/viewer ripping apart the story simply because it didn’t flow in a linear way.

    Good art can inspire us look at our world in different ways. Some people are more open to that than others.

    Liked by 1 person

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