Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Head Hopping

Normally Wednesdays have been for writing about my writer's group from WCC.  I've decided to change things up a bit and take Wednesdays as a day to talk about how to write.  I am sure these are things we all know about, but hope that maybe the discussion from them will help us all become better writers.

Today's topic is head hopping.  I know we've all read it, most of us have probably written it at one time or another.  You know, those scenes that are described from multiple points of view, where you know what every character is thinking, until you aren't certain whose thoughts are what.

This past weekend I was indulging myself with one of my favorite authors.  As I read through the first chapter of a story I've read too many times to count, I noticed something.  In the first three pages, I was inside the thoughts of five different characters and an omniscient narrator.  It was something I had never noticed before.  In the past, I had just read right along, enjoying the tale.  This time, I stopped, looked at it, went back and counted the changes and sat there scratching my head as to why she had chosen to do this.  What was the reason for the two points of view from two minor characters that we never see again?  Why not focus on just one characters POV in the chapter?

So, regardless of what POV you write from, have you ever head hopped?  Why?  What did it accomplish that staying in the one character's POV couldn't do?  Have you ever noticed a favorite author who head hopped?  Did it distract you from the story? Did it make you stop reading them?

Don't forget the name the recipe contest.  So far only one person has posted a name.  A book, writing goodies, and food are up for grabs.  Be sure to get your entry in by tomorrow at 9 PM!!!


  1. I've never head hopped in a MS and have always heard it was a no-no, but as you point out, some authors are capable and perhaps can really make it work.

  2. Regarding the recipe naming contest. Did you not like my suggestion? Or am I disqualified because I didn't post it online and/or I am your husband?

    :D ;)

  3. Lindsay- I think some authors can do it, but it is jarring as a reading when you know you aren't supposed to head hop. It is just one of the many things I've noticed changing in the world of writing.

    Scoobmaster: Yes to both, although it was a funny suggestion!

  4. I don't head hop. If I write in third person, then I wait until a chapter break or new chapter. Personally, I find it extremely distracting. The Gillian Key novels were horrible for it - I couldn't get through the first book because of it.



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