Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Lessons in Head Hopping

Head-hopper or purist? Originally, I hopped heads. Badly. But eventually I discovered that being a POV purist is "correct". Yes, it's quoted because I hate it.
You're probably not wondering what I'm talking about because POV is a huge thing in writer's circles. But I'll write it anyway, because I'm exhausted and can't think of anything else to post about tonight.
Head-hopper means you see things through different character's eyes/heads in the same scene. Purist is one character per scene or scene break. Like Nora Roberts can hop heads all she wants because she does it well but many writers don't do it anymore.
If you absolutely have to (like me, lol) then make sure the hop is clear. A good way to do that is have the character perform an action first, then think a thought or say something.
If you can keep the scene in one character's POV, you're better off. It's safer that way because you don't run the risk of losing the reader's attention.
My tiny lesson is over because the chocolate is sitting on the counter, waiting for moi.

How do you handle POV? And do you think it's a big deal on how it's done?

7 comments:

Laura Weldon said...

I'm pretty good at making sure I don't shift from one person to another within a scene. But I have a hard time writing a "close" third person POV--I've discovered that most of my writing is done in a "distant" third person, which I think makes it hard for the reader to identify with the character. Definitely something I need to work on.

Jessica said...

Yep, getting into that deep POV definitely changes things. My first chapter of one of my manuscripts introduced a hero that everyone hated. They thought he was cruel. I went back, (based on advice) put it into his deep POV, and I think it's much stronger now because people can see why he's behaving that way.
Thanks for stopping by, Laura. :-)

Laura Weldon said...

Did you review the book for her? Maybe that's how I found your blog. :D

XThrax said...

I find that 1st person is a somewhat limiting view, but sometimes its necessary for the plot. Most of the time I will stick to a close 3rd person and every once in a while jump into a deep 1st person to show the reader something that can not been seen any other way.

Jessica said...

Hi Xavier. I have to agree with you that 1st can be limiting. So it's good for you that you like third since it's is a popular style. :-) Personally, I prefer to read third person myself. I love hearing how everyone has different ways of doing things.
How's your story coming along?

XThrax said...

slowly, now that I am in school I am lucky if I can read a book.

Jessica said...

Man, I know what you mean. Life gets SO busy. Good luck with it.