I once read somewhere that writing ‘rules’ were there to get you started. And it’s true. Knowing the ‘rules’ gives you permission to break them (or flex them, if the idea of breaking rules brings out some prehistoric fungal skin disease). And the one that always has people breaking out in a cold sweat is point of view. I note a few:
- “you should only ever write from one point of view”
- “if you write from more than one points of view, you should only ever have a maximum of three”
- “if you write from multiple points of view, you should always make sure you ‘pass the baton’ so there’s no repetition”…
You get the idea. My debut novel, Lost in Static (out Autumn 2016), breaks all of the above (it’s the same story from four different points of view), but that’s not the point (yeah, yeah, terrible pun – my apologies) of this post. The point is that, in writing as in real life, there is always a common factor that makes the differences obvious. How could you have different points of view if there wasn’t a standard by which to judge the differences?
Take this time of year, for example. There are so many different cultural and religious festivities that all congregate round about this time of year. Why? Coincidence, perhaps. Or other reasons, which I will not get into here. We can start with the fact that it’s dark, cold, and miserable. But that’s not the case in the southern hemisphere, where it’s currently summer. Or closer to the equator, where the nights aren’t as long. The same story would not be the same story if set in a sufficiently different part of the globe. There’s no snow framing/ thwarting the heroes or heroines in Australian Christmas stories. But there are lights, candles, and other things that are neither northern hemisphere nor Christmas exclusive.
And this, for me, is what makes festivities great. They don’t need to be about you, about your beliefs, about your culture. They can be about how all these clash with yours. Or, for the sake of “Christmas spirit”, they can be about how you celebrate with others.
So embrace it – in both your writing and your life. Because that, after all, is what makes festivities – a different, in your case (insert as applicable: traditional, modern, inclusive), point of view.