Thursday, July 08, 2010

Head Hopping....I just can't let go of this...

I'm listening to a book on CD in my car for my drive to work and...I have to go look up the author's name...she's head hopping. Not blatantly and if I wasn't a writer would I even notice? It's subtle but it's there.
We're in a room with four sets of parents of kids who have been kidnapped together. Our main head is Lena's (mother of one of the victims) and we're hearing her husband's thoughts at one part and then SNAP' we're back in Lena's.
It was just like one sentence, but it was there. We weren't Lena watching the husband or listening to him, we were in his thoughts. It was so well done I'm not sure it would have bothered me except for the fact I knew it was a head hop.
I was like ...wait a minute...flip the CD back a few paces...listen...again... Yep! that was a head hop.
So now my radar is up and I'm watching for more.
Like I said, this was very well done. It kept with the flow of the story and characters.
So when is head hopping okay? Is there some kind of rule?
Or, and I've seen this before, could this be an older, more established writer who is allowed to take liberties the rest of us poor folks don't get?

1 comment:

Brad Jaeger said...

Most head hopping that I read tends to occur at very obvious breaks (usually the start of a chapter or a new scene).

I must say, I'm intrigued by the notion of head hunting mid paragraph, or even from sentence to sentence, but I'd need to see a few examples that work before I could even consider using it in my own writing!

Generally I'm a little weary of head hopping; if not executed perfectly it can really distract me from the voice of the character in question -- anytime an author does this, I think it risks the chance of losing the reader.

Conversely, if executed properly there's nothing quite like it.