Monday, January 25, 2010

Fame and writing rules

Once upon a time a very nice editor told me that I was a head-hopper. Although it sucks to hear something like that after she requested a full it was probably the nicest thing she could have done. Now I keep a sharp eye out for that head-hopping stuff. It's so easy to fall into another character's head when he's not looking. After all, I know what he's thinking...why shouldn't everyone else?
But that's not good writing, is it? I think it was like a major deal breaker on the road to publication.
Enter Famous writer...
I have a 40 minute ride to work and listen to books on tape/CD. Right now I'm listening to a book on tape by a very famous romance novelist. She's a household name. Even if you never read romance or wouldn't even consider one of her know her. She's top of the heap in her genre.
This book is a major head-hopper. I've even backed the CD up a few times to listen again. You know, to make sure I was paying attention and didn't miss some important scene change or something that would let me move to the new POV but uh-uh, this book bounces back and forth so much my ears ache. I want to snatch up my red pen and start editing.
I know this is on CD and therefore I can't see what I could see in print and that could make a difference. Like when there is a double space to indicate time change or some other way to move POV. But there would have to be a lot of white space in this book to make up for all the shifts.
My question is; Does fame make you impervious to the rules? Does there come a time when the editor stops editing if you're too famous?
Anyone else see this happen?


Charles Gramlich said...

I've seen quite a lot of head hopping going on of late but it really chaps me and I an only tolerate so much of it. I think it's partly lazy writers and lazy editing practices.

Natasha Fondren said...

You mean NR, LOL. Someone with an MFA said that what she did had a technical term: "toggling narrative distance."

So I'm not sure what the difference is, or why "toggling narrative difference" is okay, and head-hopping is not.

Aimless Writer said...

You got it Spy!
What the heck is toggling narrative distance and why when I do it is it called head hopping?
I think I'm going to google "toggling narrative".

Either way, what ever they call it Charles is's annoying.