What good is a rant if you can’t reuse it?
Here’s my latest, on The LadyKillers blog a couple of weeks ago.
One of my biggest pet peeves in crime fiction is HEAD-HOPPING. You know what I mean – the practice of switching point of view within a scene.
I spend a good deal of time discussing POV with my writing students, and invariably one will point out a best-selling author who does this willy nilly (at random, every which way, here and there, all over the place, in no apparent order).
After I ungrit my teeth, I try to explain. And I try to find good articles on the topic. Here are a couple of favorites.
As Billy Bob and Sally Jo danced, he felt he was in heaven and she couldn’t wait for the last chord.
But in a romance, it’s the relationship that’s the main character, the romance matters more than either Billy Bob or Sally Jo.
Head-hopping in a mystery, however, is detrimental to the story. The best-selling author (I’ll call her P. L.) who invaded my class most recently at least plays “fair,” in that she gets into the head of every principal character except one—the killer’s, of course. So, after four or five head-hopping chapters, you can identify the killer. He’s the one whose thoughts you’re not privy to. Booo.
Another best-selling author (I’ll call him S. J.) cheats! You get into the head of every character, including the killer, but while you’re in the killer’s head, he “acts” as innocent as all the others, wondering what the killer’s motive was, how the killer managed to escape, and so on.
Both the cheating and the non-cheating versions are IRRITATING. (Yes, I’m shouting.)
Does head-hopping bother you? What does?