The first time I submitted a story to a contest, the judge commented that I head-hopped. I thought it was a compliment – I’m a good listener, I empathize with people, really try to get into their heads and understand them. Ah, well, turns out she wasn’t being complimentary. Head-hopping is switching from one character’s point of view to another within one scene in a story. And it’s a problem? Really? Surely readers are smart enough to know when I switch it up. It seemed pretty clear to me. Haha.
It turns out that (even if readers are smart enough to know) convention dictates that you must write a scene from one character’s point of view. So how do you do that?
The easiest way to think of it is to imagine you have a camera on the character’s head and you’re describing what is seen through the lens. If you can’t see it through the camera, you can’t write it.
I launched my first book with a party, and my brother-in-law, Paul, videoed it for me. There was dancing (of course!). When I was up on the dance floor, I listened to the song, interacted with the other dancers, waved to the crowd of people sitting around inviting them to join us, and I was aware of people watching. The video that Paul took had clips of us dancing, but he also wandered around the room, taking footage of my family and friends that I couldn’t see from the dance floor. At the end of the video, my sister turned the camera on him, so there was a short clip of him, too. If I had described the scene, my view of that moment would have been very different from his (and I have to say – I loved that he captured the moment to include all of my family!).
It’s okay to include the point of view of another character in the story (in fact, it’s encouraged), but there has to be a shift in the scene or some marker or break so that it’s very clear to the reader. The reader, it turns out, will thank you!
Here’s a story told from Mikaela and Sam’s point of views – Perfectly Honest, Book 1 in the Perfectly Series.
You never know where your words will take you . . .
When Mikaela Finn agreed to be Sam’s ‘fiancée’ for a weekend, she probably should have told him that she’s a doctor.
Sam O’Brien, aka ‘Dr. Eye Candy’, is trying to shed his playboy reputation and convince a small town hospital that he’s ready to settle down. But when his ‘fiancée’ helps deliver a baby in the middle of the meet and greet, it’s a bit of a shock. If he’d known the whole truth, he might have done things a little differently because somehow his ‘fiancée’ ends up stealing his job and his heart. Not exactly the change he wanted.
Lies and deceit – it’s a match made in heaven!
Barnes and Noble Link http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/perfectly-honest-linda-oconnor/1121133809
Linda O’Connor started writing a few years ago when she needed a creative outlet other than subtly rearranging the displays at HomeSense. It turns out she loves writing romantic comedies and has a few more stories to tell. When not writing, she’s a physician at an Urgent Care Clinic (well, even when she is writing she’s a physician, and it shows up in her stories :D ). She hangs out at www.lindaoconnor.net.
Laugh every day. Love every minute.
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Linda-OConnor/e/B00S7CNLEA