Head-Hopping - what's the deal people?

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
bcomet
Posts: 588
Joined: January 23rd, 2010, 2:11 pm
Contact:

Re: Head-Hopping - what's the deal people?

Post by bcomet » March 6th, 2010, 3:00 pm

I am still learning, but this is also an area of interest for me. I especially like third-person omniscient.
This article helped me because it also sited examples:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third-pers ... _narrative

I have a sprawling novel written in third-person omniscient.

My current WIP is written this way, but much more selective. It can see and show what's inside mostly the main character
although it can show inside two others when it is absolutely necessary to the scene.
Other than that, it stays outside characters' heads, but when it needs to, it acts like a camera on outside scenes.

It's tricky.

casnow
Posts: 159
Joined: December 7th, 2009, 1:51 pm
Location: Cairo, Egypt
Contact:

Re: Head-Hopping - what's the deal people?

Post by casnow » March 6th, 2010, 3:23 pm

I like writing from different people's POVs, but I try to stick with one person's POV/chapter. I also like reading from multiple POVs, and I often find myself frustrated when reading first person only books. I like the complex multicharacter novels.

User avatar
JustineDell
Posts: 293
Joined: January 15th, 2010, 11:38 am
Location: Indiana
Contact:

Re: Head-Hopping - what's the deal people?

Post by JustineDell » March 6th, 2010, 3:58 pm

christi wrote:
So long as the story is compelling, then I don't think POV is as important, but that's just me. I feel rather alone in this, but again, don't care. My story is in the same vein of what writing used to be: a storyteller sitting around a campfire, not involved with the characters, but relaying the story with as much or as little detail needed to tell the story right. What I do is not a POV shift, but insight into what is going on from whatever source is needed to tell it the best way.
Your are not alone, dear Christi, not alone at all. I totally agree with each and every point you made.

;-)

~JD

http://www.justine-dell.blogspot.com/

"Three things in life that, once gone, never return; Time, Words, & Opportunity"

User avatar
emvtc
Posts: 9
Joined: March 14th, 2010, 10:10 pm
Contact:

Re: Head-Hopping - what's the deal people?

Post by emvtc » March 14th, 2010, 11:17 pm

As long as you maintain separate chapters and establish who the characters are I don't have a problem with head hopping. I love head hopping. I head hop - I mean, I'm not way extra-curricular with it, but it's fun as long as it's not head leaping. I especially love the villians' POVs. Not enough people really get into the heads' of their villains. But characters have to be established and it has to be clear whose POV it is.

Like in SHIVER by Maggie Stiefvater - the character's POV (Sam or Grace) is listed with chapter number. And I can only come up with YA examples of head hopping, but okay.

There's lots of head hopping - just don't make it jarring. If it's really hard to write something from one POV and you can't make even paragraph breaks - go for third person 'cause then you can get into everyone's head without being disjointed (like Cassandra Clare's books).
I want to unfold. I don't want to be folded anywhere, because there, where I'm folded, I am a lie.
Rilke

User avatar
mmcdonald64
Posts: 99
Joined: March 14th, 2010, 6:57 pm
Contact:

Re: Head-Hopping - what's the deal people?

Post by mmcdonald64 » March 15th, 2010, 12:15 am

I don't mind head hopping as long as it's just two characters. I think it would be hard to follow if it was a group of people. Some of my favorite authors head hop, and like you, did it in the span of a few sentences. The author I can think of off the bat is LaVyrle Spencer. In Morning Glory, she does that and it works because the main characters are both so unsure of what the other is thinking, and it allowed the reader to see their vulnerability. It made me feel empathy for both of them and doubled the impact of the scene. (it was a tentative first kiss) So, I can see it working for romance. I *have* seen it work for romance.

That said, when I began writing about 12 years ago, I had a mentor who told me that headhopping was bad. I was still fuzzy on the notion and didn't remember it happening in Morning Glory, so I learned right from the beginning not to do it. I'm not sure I could now. lol.

What I don't understand is how it was okay to do it twenty years ago, but not now. It's a head-scratcher for me. Maybe some of the younger readers aren't used to it, but anyone over age thirty would certainly be familiar with it. I would much rather read head hopping than first person pov, especially if it's in present tense, and yet, that seems to be all the rage now.

User avatar
emvtc
Posts: 9
Joined: March 14th, 2010, 10:10 pm
Contact:

Re: Head-Hopping - what's the deal people?

Post by emvtc » March 15th, 2010, 1:03 am

mmcdonald64 wrote:What I don't understand is how it was okay to do it twenty years ago, but not now. It's a head-scratcher for me. Maybe some of the younger readers aren't used to it, but anyone over age thirty would certainly be familiar with it.
Now, I don't think that's true. I'm under the age of twenty-five and I get head hopping. I like/love it (depending on how well the author has executed it). Lots of readers my age I know like it. Maybe it's that agents/editors went through a phase - who knows. There are lots of book that head hop - I know that James Rollins' novels head hop, Maggie Stiefvater head hops, Cassandra Clare, Kimberly Derting head hops (though she's a debut author and her book comes out on Tues. so it's unlikely that people are going to know that one). I see it a lot (but then again, I'm eternally stuck in the land of angst and hormones and zits AKA YA, so maybe it's that there's an age gap - people over thirty and people under twenty).
I want to unfold. I don't want to be folded anywhere, because there, where I'm folded, I am a lie.
Rilke

User avatar
Matthew MacNish
Posts: 285
Joined: March 5th, 2010, 4:31 pm
Location: Georgia
Contact:

Re: Head-Hopping - what's the deal people?

Post by Matthew MacNish » March 15th, 2010, 8:13 am

I don't think it's a problem - as others have stated already - as long as it's done without distracting the reader from the narrative or breaking the suspension of disbelief. Hopping heads, or POVs within a paragraph sounds too jarring for me, but of course it would depend on context and I'm sure it's been done by famous writers before (William Faulkner and James Joyce come to mind).

The original POV seems like it would make a huge difference too. I tend to write in third person, somewhere between limited and omniscient, and it makes it easier to give little insights into the thoughts of characters other than the protagonist without completely hopping into their head. If you start out in first person I think that makes it a bit more difficult but certainly not impossible.

Do be careful about editing it too much without receiving complaints about it from readers. There is a reason you felt inspired to write it that way originally.

User avatar
JustineDell
Posts: 293
Joined: January 15th, 2010, 11:38 am
Location: Indiana
Contact:

Re: Head-Hopping - what's the deal people?

Post by JustineDell » March 15th, 2010, 10:09 am

Matthew Rush wrote:
Do be careful about editing it too much without receiving complaints about it from readers. There is a reason you felt inspired to write it that way originally.
Exactly! :-)

http://www.justine-dell.blogspot.com/

"Three things in life that, once gone, never return; Time, Words, & Opportunity"

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests