The book I am currently reading, which relates to the period of time I am interested in, but within the first twenty pages I came across ‘head-hopping’. For those who don’t know what this means, it is when the writer jumps from one character’s point of view to another in the same scene or in the same paragraph. This author has four published books and the publishing house is one of the more notable ones. So my question is: how does this get passed through the editorial stage?
Head-hopping is one of the first things you get told NOT to do when writing scenes; for one, it is confusing to read and two, it’s frowned upon. We all have done it, not on purpose, but because you’re still learning the art of writing fiction. A good friend read a draft of my story and pointed it out to me and I am grateful she did. More recently, I attended a workshop lead by an international best-selling author where our work was critiqued and one of the attendees got told not to ‘head-hop’. You can write from multiple points of view but should not change the viewpoint within the same scene.
Again, I ask the question: how did this not get picked up? And for those of us who are aspiring writers trying to break into the publishing world, it gives mixed messages. Polished manuscripts only to be submitted. So you spend hours, days, weeks, months, years working on your baby to get it to that ‘error free’ stage. No work will ever be perfect because you’ll always find something wrong with it. You can go over the same work, improve it and then put it aside for a while, go back and amend it again. The process is cyclic.
Yet, ‘someone’ loved this author’s work. The agents, the editors, the buyers at the publishing houses must love the work otherwise forget it. My other question is, once you are published do the rules not apply?
Have any of you come across head-hopping in published books? Do you like it? I’d really like to know what your thoughts are on this.