Saturday, February 4, 2017

Talking Heads

An admission: Recently, I read one of my early titles from 2003, and realized that at times, I had a habit of "head-hopping" - switching from one viewpoint character to another in the same scene. In 2005, I took a Point of View writing course and learned a lot about what "not" to do. This past weekend, as I was thinking about what to post for this month's Novel Spaces blog, I remembered a great blog post by fiction editor Beth Hill that addressed the topic of Head Hopping, therefore, I'm sharing the link below from a site called The Editor's Blog.

One thing I will say, that I know most authors are aware of, is that as writers, we need to be mindful of staying in the mind of the narrator or if the chapter is in Character A's POV, stay with that character's audible, internal thoughts, and emotions about what he/she sees, tastes, touches, etc. If Character A is on the phone, and has the receiver to his/her ear, Character B who is sitting across the room cannot hear the person Character A is talking to (unless the phone is on speaker). It's Character A's ears. Character B can perceive the conversation based upon gestures, facial expressions, a feeling, etc., but he/she cannot literally hear the other person. If there's a scene break or chapter break, there can be a switch, but it is best to stay in one character's head at a time. We owe it to our readers to not confuse them or lose them. Ahh, the craft! LOL

Enjoy, and write on!

Head-Hopping Gives Readers Whiplash by fiction editor Beth Hill


Jewel Amethyst said...

Great post. Some time ago I also read some of my early work and I had the same character hopping. But oh, I enjoyed reading them. It felt like freedom rather than being bound by the constraints of writing rules.

Marissa Monteilh said...

I agree Jewel, I've gone against the rules at times and it feels really good, lol!

Liane Spicer said...

This one can be tricky. I've done some head-hopping inadvertently in my second Liane Spicer novel. Never realized it until it was pointed out to me by a reviewer.