What's going on here?

Reading book after book about the craft of novel writing has my head spinning. When I go to read an actual YA novel, I get thrown for a loop. Bestselling authors are making all the "mistakes" and getting away with it. I'm not crying foul, it just makes researching what I liked about the books difficult.

Oftentimes, what I liked is what the experts say new writers shouldn't do. The experts say to read what you want to write, then essentially tell you not to write like that.

The experts say don't use a prologue. Open to the first page of Twilight, tell me what you find. Go ahead, I'll wait.

They say not to use dialogue as a hook line, seems to be working for the Riley Bloom series.

Tag lines must be he said/she said and no derivation will be allowed past the slush pile. The Immortals series, which is rumored to be in movie talks, is riddled with, she smiled, he growled.

After going back and forth on it, I decided to rewrite my entire draft in past tense, only to open the second book of the Hunger Games and find its all in present tense. Will I regret this choice later on too?

Suffice it to say if an agent options my book, with the sole requirement that I go back and put the whole thing in present tense, the first thing I will do is throw something while letting loose a steady string of profanities. Then, of course, I will rewrite the whole thing in present tense and do my happy dance.

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