When does style and point of view become more important than the meat of the story itself? I've been preparing a story for a contest and ran it past a dozen fellow writers for comments and suggestions to improve it. The results were positively paralyzing. Conflicting. Frighteningly so. My point of view was this, and that, and wrong, wrong, wrong. I rewrote and rewrote, and still it was "inconsistent."
I had faith in myself up to a point. I believed I was correct. But after so many experienced writers banged the same drum, I began to waffle. Finally I just cried. I couldn't understand what was inconsistent, or wrong, about it. I wouldn't be entering the contest if I didn't believe I had at least a rat's chance in hell of winning or placing. So if I couldn't even keep to one point of view (by some's standards), what chance do I stand of placing in a contest? Will the judges agree with my associates? Will they agree with me?
Finally, I sent the story to an excellent editor whom I trust implicitly. She told me that many writers are confused about points of view and that my story was perfectly fine, that I maintained a consistent POV and not to worry about it.
But now I'm concerned that the judges might not understand as well as she did.
Some of you are reading this thinking, "Why doesn't she just believe in herself and follow her gut?" That's what I'm going to have to do. But it staggers the mind that either I or my associates have such a poor grapse of what points of view are that we differ so widely.
It's enough to make one stop writing altogether. Seriously.