This question has irked me in my efforts to writing novels and I think about this because I tend to read older, classic children’s stories where it seemed logic and form went out the window. Despite this odd choice of structure, the stories still were memorable enough and were marketed outside of the book medium.
Just for example, I recently got my hands on a complete series of books and poems of Winnie the Pooh. The stories are extremely short, and don’t appear to have much of a purpose or storyline, but are very enjoyable because of the timeless sense of humor. It also breaks the rule about a narrator’s voice or point of view (POV). The story is told in the third person primarily, but is specifically being told to a character in the story named Christopher Robin. The narrator goes from saying “I said.” to “You said.” to “He/She said.”, which I learned was a big no-no since it creates confusion for the reader.
But maybe over exposure to movies and television can cloud the mind about what a story is and how it can be told. Why do some of these rules exist? Can’t we just assume as readers that the narrator is a character too and this justifies the change in POV? In a movie, we don’t have to start at the beginning, so why is it recommended to start at the beginning in novels and not skip around too?
The answer lies in medium. Books are read generally left to right, front to back, and when borrowing the rules of another medium, it is not likely it will translate the same in another.
Writing how you want to write is not a crime of course. No one is going to arrest you if you have five protagonists and switch POVs at random. Though, I wonder how many readers will tolerate this writing choice. In any case, if the success of classic stories like Winnie the Pooh or say Grimm’s Fairy Tales is anything to go by, I say write for yourself and leave structure in the outlining stage. As long as you know where your novel is meant to go, let your audience be the judge of your choices.
Maybe you’ll be thought as incredible, or maybe you won’t get them past the first page.
I say at least try experimenting with unusual structure.