Head-hopping — Have you experienced it?

Head-hopping is not a term I have heard before.  Since it came up at a recent meeting of my friends and colleagues at a Northern Colorado Writers, I thought I would share it here.

This wordsbybob.com post may be aimed at writers, but it also applies to readers.

Head-hopping—what is it? 
It is what a reader experiences when the writer of a book makes a sudden change in the character point of view (POV.)

The reader’s mind is abruptly, and usually without warning, jerked from one orientation or viewpoint to another.

One example would be when a first-person narrative suddenly changes to the third person perspective.

To be clear, head-hopping is not merely a switch in viewpoint character. It’s what happens when that change occurs mid-sentence or mid-paragraph or even mid-scene. When the switch is done without thought or planning by the writer.

The momentum and flow of the story is stopped when the POV changes either mid-thought or in the middle of a paragraph.

The mind of the reader begins to remember that they are reading a story.

The POV can be changed but it is best to do it when a scene changes or when a new paragraph is started

The best way to handle this is to have one scene and one viewpoint. If the story dictates a change within a chapter, it best to only do one change.

Thanks to my friends at NCW for continuing to provide ideas for this blog.


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