As many of my regular visitors know, I also write book reviews for the Historical Novel Review Blog and not simply books I buy myself. Publishers actually ask us to review books for them and post them on our blog. Yes really!
Anyway, the reason I mentioned this, was I have recently finished a novel that has evidently found an enthusiastic publisher despite the fact the writer ignored many of the rules - perhaps to be kinder I ought to say sidestepped - editors tell me are vital for a manuscript to be considered for publication.
The author constantly dips into omnicient PoV and out again, writes really short scenes which launch the reader into another location with a new set of characters before you have any vision of the previous ones, and then head hops from one character to another and back again. There is also lots of passive voice where it isn't necessary: e.g. one character asks, 'What are you recommending?' The attributions often come before the dialogue: i.e. She said airily, 'I don't really mind'.
I decided I won't comment on these issues in the review, firstly because one of policies of the HNR Blog is never to slam anyone's writing, and the fact the broken rules don't detract from its narrative. Then there is the fact, that, if the publishers are happy with the writing style, who am I to say it is incorrect?
However, if I wasn't confused about what publishers want before, I am now. Does this mean the 'rules' I have been trying to follow, and worse, impress upon other writers in my critique groups are all irrelevant? Have I been giving bad advice and their novels may have been perfectly acceptable for publication after all? And why have I been trying so hard to eliminate all these 'mistakes' from my own writing?