Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Help! I Hear Voices!

Head-hopping. When I first began writing fiction, I had no idea what that was--only that it was something to avoid. It's hard to steer clear of something you don't quite get. God in His great Providence set in my path some excellent critique partners who recognized the dreaded head-hopping at a glance--in my writing, no less! (One of those CPs also does an excellent job of yanking unnecessary exclamation marks!) After much critiquing practice, I now can catch head-hopping on my own. Usually.

Head-hopping used to be acceptable. It's the third-person omniscient point of view--knowing what each character is thinking or feeling in a scene. The writer may limit omniscience to the two most important characters, but if the reader gets inside both minds in one scene, that's head-hopping.

I'm about to finish a historical novel written by a contemporary writer. It took me awhile to get into it, however. I had to push myself through the first 100 pages--a self-imposed rule I break only for moral issues. The book was worth the effort. I'm sorry to see it coming to an end. And yes, I'll likely read more by this author.

Why did it take so long for the book to hook me, though? I asked myself that question and realized it was because of the head-hopping. It distracted me. Perhaps third-person omniscience is characteristic of the genre. I'll have to read more selections to see if that's the case. Each genre has its own literary conventions, after all.

Write on!
Because of Christ,

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