Yesterday I received feedback from Stacey Wilk who kindly looked over my first five pages of my novel with the eyes of a developmental editor. I found her feedback invaluable and if any of you who may be searching for an editor make sure you get in touch with her as she is fantastic! To find out more information about her editorial services, please click here. One of the points she mentioned is that I occasionally “head-hopped” and my “POV” was quite vague. I had not heard these terms before, so I’ve done a little research, and this is what I have found.
Head–hopping occurs when an author switches point-of-view characters within a single scene, and happens most frequently when using a Third-Person Omniscient narrative, in which the thoughts of every character are open to the reader.
New writers are generally advised not to head-hop, i.e., switch viewpoints midway between scenes as unless they can expertly implement this they will most likely confuse their readers. Eric Lathi states on his blog –
No matter what anyone tells you, there’s only one rule worth following and that’s don’t confuse your reader…If you’re deep into a character’s head and suddenly you’re in some other character’s head, the result is going to feel like hitting a fire road in Ferrari. And there you go, you just violated the cardinal rule and confused your reader. Your hard work was flung across the room or reduced to random bits on someone’s tablet.
For this reason, I am going to steer clear of head-hopping. I like to keep my life simple, and I’d rather not use a technique in my writing that is going to make things more confusing and require much more work to get right. I’m going to stick to one point of view per chapter and only write about what that character would humanly know.
Now back to the outlining drawing board….