Saturday, September 29, 2012

Confessions of a Head-Hopper

         Until several months ago I didn’t even have a clue what a POV (point of view) was in the craft of writing. And I’d never heard the term “head-hopping” until recently. Okay, all the authors are probably shaking their heads and muttering tsk-tsk. But I’ve never had a writing lesson in my life, and I’ve lived a good number of years. Everything I know about the craft of writing, I’ve learned from various writers’ groups I belong to.
         I discovered this very week that I am guilty of head-hopping. In fact, my entire manuscript that I sent off for publication is full of head-hopping. Oh dear me, I moan as I wring my hands in anguish. Whatever shall I do? I have nightmares of walking into a room of writers and authors and enduring the pain of pointing and whisperings, “She’s a head-hopper.”
         Now I’m wondering if I’ve ever read a book where the author head-hopped. Would I have noticed? I’m sure I wouldn’t have, especially if it was a good story.  I think I’d notice now since I’ve been enlightened about head-hopping, but I’m not sure I would care as long as it didn’t affect the flow of the story.
         The only sigh of relief I’ve had was yesterday when I read on the ACFW site that a member was reading a Stephen King book and he head-hopped all the way through it. Seriously? Stephen King? Perhaps he didn’t get the memo stating that head-hopping is a no-no in the literary world.
         Since my enlightenment, I’ve been reading through a WIP and the head-hopping is now glaringly obvious to me. How can I be sharing about Leah’s thoughts and words in one paragraph and in the very next paragraph Tony wonders why he’s never noticed how beautiful and intelligent is his wife, Leah. How dare Tony be thinking anything at all when it’s clearly not his turn to think?  Humph!
         Who makes up these rules anyway? POV, head-hopping, show not tell, too much back story…the list goes on and on.  That puff of air you feel is me heaving a huge sigh.

1 comment:

  1. Learning and keeping all these rules is quite confusing, but I'm confident that if we write the best book we can write, hire a good editor to help us correct it and be willing to tweak it until it's as good as we can get it, then we're on the right track. Just keep writing, just keep writing, just keep writing. (speaking to myself, too.)