I prefer to write for characters, rather than to write for rules. If a certain character is our POV character, then I would use a sharper version of that character's voice as my narrative style. If they would end a sentence in a preposition, it usually reads better to just let them.
If you have a more pulled back narrative, of course, that's a different style. But I think character voice is far more important than author voice.
This is such a good point, and let's talk about it. (This is, btw, why I say that deep POV isn't for everyone or every book-- you really have to cede a certain amount of "voice" to the POV character, and you might not want to do that.) Let's say your POV character (first- or third-person) is not the most incisive narrator. Let's say he/she is really pedantic, or sort of vague and spacey, and the narrative voice reflects that.
Can we have some examples? Here's mine:
She just didn't know, okay? She kind of thought that she was sort of someone he cared about. But not like you could tell it from the way he said things. He probably said the same things to other girls, you know? So, anyway, she was maybe taking a chance trusting him with what she had to trust him with. But life was risk, right?
Okay, maybe I channeled a few of my freshman students there. :)
Let's have some other examples! This is for, um, un-sharp or un-pleasant or "bad" voices. Give us a quick (first try) example, and then write about what you'd change if you were revising-- NOT to revise into a more author-voice, but to make this person a better -narrator- (not just character). Help?
Now what I mean is-- We already have dialogue to show how a character sounds, to reveal this character's inattention and inarticulation. So we don't need this person to be the POV character, the narrator, unless she brings something to the narration. So what does she bring?
One thing I notice in re-reading that is the paragraph tells us almost nothing. (And understand, I couldn't bear to write a book or even a scene in this POV, so I am immediately revising, and you might not do that. Depends on what we want!) So right from the first, I look at that lame preposition-ending, and I think-- so what does she have to trust him with?
Maybe we know, or maybe I can insert that without losing the flavor of her voice. Let's see:
So, anyway, she was maybe taking a chance trusting him with what she had to trust him with. Her secret. You know. The whole murder thing.
That still has the prep, but at least I feel like I'm imparting a bit of information-- by the end of the paragraph, the reader knows more not just about the character but also about the story (murder, I guess).
I can't help it. I have to get rid of at least one preposition-ending.
She just didn't know, okay? She kind of thought that maybe he sort of cared about her. Maybe.
I have to say I like all the "kind of" "sort of" vagueness, just because that's sort of an amusing take on the utter inarticulateness of some people. They could be talking about undying love, or they could be talking about a load of mulch for the backyard-- same diction. (But really, I don't think I could write-- or read-- pages of that.) But she could be sharper and give more info without totally compromising her authenticity, because we don't know if he's a potential lover, or her father:
She just didn't know, okay? She kind of thought that she was sort of someone he cared about, not in a romantic way, yeah, more like a friend. But not like you could tell it from the way he talked to her. Sure, he joked around and said some flirty things. But he probably said the same sweet things to other girls, you know?
Does adding those adjectives to "things" (sorry, it hurts to type that word :) get in the way of her voice? I like to think that identifying the relationship in her mind (not romantic, more like a friend) helps deepen the understanding. And we can see he says flirty, sweet things, so we don't imagine him saying insulting or smarmy things, I guess.
So I guess I'd start with the free-writing to "feel" her voice, than go back and add and subtract so that the passage says what I want it to say to advance the story just a bit. That is, it's not going go be enough for me to have the passage just show her voice or reveal that she's incapable of articulating a complete thought.
Anyway, how about some examples of deep POV voices that aren't, shall we say, OUR voice-- and are lame and limping and all that. And then, would you make any changes in revision?