A few weeks ago I encountered a dilemma that I'm sure many writers have faced at one time or another; having written he "book of my heart" how much are you willing to change it for a sale. As the 'Queen of Adverbial Excess" I am used to removing said adverbs and revising tenses and certainly I have become adept at spiffing up point of view. Yet therein lies my dilemma-- How many points of view are acceptable in a romance novel?
Like many of us who began writing romance in the eighties, I scrutinized the tip sheets handed out at conferences to see what each publisher required in their books. That is where I learned about the type of heroes and heroines that were acceptable, that sex was okay but not rape or anything kinky (Boy, has that changed), and of course, there has to be a happy ending. The last hint was to write something new, different and that catches the imagination of the reader with sparkling prose.
So I wrote. I wrote the book of my heart, set in my favorite part of Arizona, which my husband and I toured from beginning to end, gathering background. locations and esoteric information, all of which I worked into the fabric of Kate and Jake's story. I even convinced my husband, who had never been on a horse, to take a trailride through the Kaibab Forest! Anything for authenticity, right?
However, along with writing my lovely story, I proceeded to break several industry imposed rules. First of all, I used more than two points of view. I knew it was wrong, but...well, the dog had a lot of good observations, so why shouldn't he have a POV? So did Kate's younger brother, Toby. Most important, so did the three Bad Guys chasing our heroine for some nefarious purpose.
I sent my baby out multiple times but heard only that "this would be perfect for our **** line, but we just closed it", or "Well-written but not right for our line," and more of the usual rejection letter verbiage. Not until my most recent submission did I find out that I can't have more than two POVs. Ouch! What about my BAD GUYS?
Converting the dog's and Toby's point of view to either Kate or Jake was easy. Even making sure that Kate and Jake's viewpoint was accurate was not too bad. But, there was absolutely no way to fix the chapters that are in the point of view of the villians, unless I had Kate or Jake sneak up to spy on them. Hum, maybe that would work... but I think I'd rather break the rules.
PS- Sorry I missed last month but it was the eighth anniversary of my daughter's death and I just wasn't up to it. Sometimes life intrudes, doesn't it?