Fiction Friday – Head Hopping

I survived the week! YAY me LOL. Well, okay it’s not QUITE over yet. I still have to get through today which means, laundry and the Lenten Soup Supper at our church which the hubs is going to be late for because of a mandatory fun attendance to a screening of Zero Dark Thirty. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad he’s going but I wasn’t the one raised Catholic. So really the Adoration of Mary and the Stations of the Cross – totally not my thing. The soup supper – I’m definitely there but the other – I’m taking my Kindle, gonna see if I can get away with reading gay romance on my Kindle.

Speaking of gay romance/gay erotica/erotica/romance – there’s been a lot of discussions about this around the web as of late. You should check out Lillian Francis’ Blog – Dealer in Decadence about it over here, it also links to Alex Beecroft’s post about it as well. Two really insightful posts about what exactly we write.

And speaking of writing, let’s talk about POV. And no, I’m not talking first person, versus third person or whatnot. I’m talking about head hopping. Jumping from one character’s POV to another character’s POV.

I will freely admit, I started out writing fanfic – HET fanfic at that *GASP* – And I might go back to writing het *MORTIFIED GASP* because there’s a story that’s been tugging at me lately that wants to be written. That aside, I still write some fanfic, not much, a few drabbles, and this birthday fic that is quickly becoming my nemesisssss ;p When I first started writing, I head hopped, A LOT. I flitted from one character’s head to another until finally someone pointed out to me that if I’m writing from character A’s POV then he/she/it wouldn’t know what’s going on inside the head of character B.

Then I found myself trying to restrict my writing to one POV, picking a character and sticking with it. Until now. Now I have a story I’m working on that is insisting on being told from both characters’ POV – they both have something to say about how they ended up together.

So my question is this…or rather questions…how do you feel about head hopping? Is it distracting? Do you even notice it? And really the most important one – how is head hopping different from third person omniscient? And if it’s not really that different then how was what I was doing head hopping and not third person omniscient or even universal omniscient?

I’m sure I’m not the only one with these questions – so talk, engage, discuss – so I can learn from your discussions – see I have motives ;p

That’s all from me now. Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend! See ya’ll on Monday!

<333

KH

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10 responses to “Fiction Friday – Head Hopping

  1. gonna see if I can get away with reading gay romance on my Kindle.

    You are so going to hell. LOL Although there’s no pope now so I think we’re in a free-for-all period. 😉

    I don’t as a rule find head-hopping annoying. Of course there are times when it’s done poorly and you have to stop for a moment and go back and figure out which head you are in, but as long as it doesn’t hop from sentence to sentence, I’m usually okay with it. To be honest, Sean Michael is a wicked head-hopper, and it doesn’t seem to have harmed him in any way. LOL I never liked first person much because I didn’t like the fact that you had no clue what the other person was thinking/doing. So maybe that little fact makes me more open to multiple POV. I have done all types, flip-flopping, from only one person, first person, head hopping. I think there may be certain stories that “require” (for lack of a better word) different styles. So I always say goes what feels right and hopefully others will find that it works as well.

    • LOLLLLL Yup, I might even be driving the bus there ;p

      Yes, you’ve told me before that you don’t mind head-hopping, which I find refreshing because there are so many people out there that do. I agree, when it’s done poorly, it’s really distracting and hard to follow. GAH you’re right, and I read a ton of Sean Michael’s stuff – but there were a lot of times in the Jarhead series I had to pause and figure out who was saying what at times LOL.

      Good point about first person – I actually just wrote my first ‘first person’ POV and it’s with all of my pre-readers right now – we’ll see how that goes 😀

      And that’s good advice about going with what feels right – so far for this one particular story – it feels right to tell it from both MC’s POVs.

      Thanks so much Tam!

  2. 3rd person POV pretty please, much easier for those of us translating while reading, even just 2 POVs can make me lose the thread if they are not different enough in their voices

    HET? I may have to defriend you 😉 no, just kidding, but I will never read that

    Those Catholic things made my head spin, does that mean I’m possesed?
    Have fun with your reading if you can sneak away

    • I can totally appreciate that. I think what I would be doing is called third person limited and I would switch per chapter so it would be very clear who’s head you’re in while you’re reading.

      Awww – you wouldn’t defriend me over one teeny little het story would you? LOL.

      LOLLL nope and I totally snuck in some reading, read and enjoyed Jo’s Screw the Fags 😀

  3. I’ve read head hopping used well. I think it has a lot to do with balance. If it’s a constant tool used evenly throughout the story, it seems to work. If it’s only used for conveniences, it feels more jarring.

    And as far as I know the difference between head hopping and third person omniscient is that in the later, the story has the impression of being told by an outsider.

    • That’s the impression I’m getting. That if it’s handled well and not say two POV’s within the same paragraph or section but a consistent thing throughout the story that it can be very good. The ironic thing is, I realized this am the book I’m reading right now? Switches POVs each chapter – which is exactly what I was thinking about doing – so it can be done very well.

      And that is a good point about 3rd person omniscient – thanks!

  4. Hey you, thanks for the mention.

    Head hopping. Yes, done badly it’s probably the thing most likely to pull me from a story (after bad editing). I’ve DNF’d books for badly done head hopping. One I read you were in the another person’s thoughts every other paragraph (including minor ‘just passing thru’ characters), it was so distracting I couldn’t read more than three chapters.

    As you know I favour alternating POV between the two MCs, giving the POV to whoever has the most interesting reaction for the reader. At least I hope things work out that way, from a writing point of view you often see things in a completely different way to your readers. My one attempt at 1st person POV has remained lingering in my ‘must do something with this’ folder!

    • You’re welcome – it was a great post 😀

      Yes, that’s me, because as I’m reading & it jars me, I start editing in my head. I don’t think I’ve DNF’d for that…

      It seems a lot of people like and/or write that way – alternating POV between MCs and chapters.

      Well get on that first person thing then <333

  5. If the head-hopping is done in a consistent and obvious way that makes sense within the story, I think it’s fine. Like others here, I’ve had real problems where it is used without due consideration for throughput and readability. I’ve read many a piece in which heads have been hopped within the same sentence – sometimes more than once – which is quite jarring. Those are the ones that make me shudder when the idea is first broached. However, if one hops at appropriate chapter or section breaks, it can be very effective.

    I hope this helps, though I’m a bit late to the party. 😉

    • This is exactly how I feel tbh. I’ve read some really great books where the head-hopping was consistent, gave two sides to the story, and made the depth of it even richer. But then I’ve also read bad ones where they hopped heads in the same paragraph and you’re right, it’s very jarring.

      And every little thing helps! Thanks for stopping by 😀

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