Sunday, December 18, 2005

Bending The Rules

As it is with most things in this life, and also as occasionally mentioned here by my colleagues, there will always be certain "rules of the road" in writing that should be adhered to, or at least... most of the time.

Still, beyond these stringent codes of conduct, so to speak, when it comes to the set-in-stone rules of writing vs. poetic license/style/flair/voice uniqueness, etc., I think it's always refreshing to see these conventional "dos and don'ts" not only challenged, but stretched to the limit as far as they can go. And certainly, such is the very case with Moon Women , a great debut novel I recently read by author, Pamela Duncan.

Written somewhat in the tradition of Fannie Flagg's Fried Green Tomatoes, I'm sure that many staunch grammar "purists" would balk at the relaxed and rather colloquial third person narration of this wonderful novel. However, Duncan does exactly that with her down-home, Southern-style delivery, and spins an entertaining women's fiction tale of working-class life in the Carolina foothills.

Once again, I would definitely venture to label Duncan's work in this story as one of those "proceed with extreme caution" attempts at third person narrative, especially in the often tenuous case of the "first-timer" novelist. On the other hand, all things being equal -- as well as subjective -- the important thing to remember here, is that there was in fact: a) a literary agent, and b) a publishing house editor, who liked what they saw in Duncan's storytelling, and this very fine book is the *end* result. All the so-called "conventional" wisdoms and writing damned.

So for all of you who like Southern tales told in a very southern setting, do check out Pamela Duncan's Moon Women and also her second novel, Plant Life whenever you can.

Write what is inside you.


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