1. scribbledhopes
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    scribbledhopes Member

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    head hoping

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by scribbledhopes, May 5, 2008.

    I keep reading this is a bad thing. why?

    Some of my favorite books were head hopers. I enjoy that style, I Dislike first person actually, find it a bit limiting as a writer and a reader.


    In my Novel I have two heads I Jump back and forth but only when they are apart, I stick to the main when together. It works really well and my test readers like it. I Just can't see how the story Could have it's flow without it.
     
  2. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    What's a head hoper?
     
  3. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Given the description given by the OP, I'm going to assume that head hopping is when there is a change of narrator in the story or from first person to third person, or a mix of the like?

    If this is that case, China Mieville uses this writing style to good effect, but it has to have a reason, otherwise I think it's a cheat in order to tell a part of the story that the point of view chosen simply cannot tell.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Sounds like interweaving a bunch of first persons in a single narrative to try to get around the limitations of the first person POV. I wouldn't think it would be all that effective in doing so, but would just be likely to sound muddy and fragmented. And I am assuming, like Wreybies, that it is spelled with a double P. At least, here's hoping it is! :)
     
  5. AwfulBigAdventure
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    AwfulBigAdventure Member

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    OOOOOH
    Head Hopping.

    It depends if you set up the story in 1st or 3rd person and whether it's limited or omnicient. I think 3rd person omnicient is the least disorienting to hop from one character to the next becuase it's fully okay with in the set up. If, however, you have two first person limited POVs, then it can be jarring to hop back and forth. I'd set up the pattern right away so people understand it's how the story will work.
     
  6. scribbledhopes
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    scribbledhopes Member

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    Yes it was hopping, it was early, sorry about that.


    I guess it is just an influence of the type of book I like. I will use Stephen King's The Stand. You bounce from head to head and one experience to another until in the end thier lives unite. I just enjoy that style.

    I have seen many other books do this as well, I don't know if it is a cheat to get around a story, never really thought about it. I do try to learn from the authors I read, it was just something they did that I enjoyed and tried to capture the talent.

    I will have to go back and see if I am using it as a get around, or using it to enhance the story. It's food for thought. Though I do write in third person, I wouldn't be able to pull off a first person that way, I wouldn't know where to start.

    thanks.
     
  7. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    It all depends on how you manage it. The book I'm reading now (The Scar) is written primarily in TPO, but the auther (Mieville) does sometimes 'hop' into a character's head to give a real feel of what is going on from that person's perspective. He could easily tell the same in TPO, but it would not have the same intimacy. He 'hops' into most of his character's heads in this work and in Perdido Street Station and it works really well because it lends a personability to his characters; it makes it easy to feel with and for them in the quick snippets of FPL.
     
  8. Kaij
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    Kaij Senior Member

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    Head hopping can be highly annoying if not done the right way. It jars the reader and all we end up doing is rolling our eyes. If done the correct way though, in a fluid motion, everything is fine. The key to proper head hopping is to be subtle about it, don't let the reader know. If you want to have multiple POV's from certain characters, then fine, but watch out for the head hopping. POV's should not change during a single scene. They should be spaced out, a new paragraph when someone else's POV comes into view. Don't slap us in the face.

    Such as, for instance, you're in a bowling rink with a couple of friends. Think of it as a story. You only know what you're thinking, not what the others are, although you can guess. For different chapters, or page breaks, you can add in another character's viewpoint, but until those times, it's best to stick with one character.

    Baaad, foreshame on you!:
    Yay! We learned something!:
    See the difference? XP

    ...So lame, I know, aughhh. Hopefully you guys can see the point in the examples o_o
     
  9. silverfrost
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    silverfrost Member

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    I like POV switching in third person, but only if it's from chapter to chapter or section to section - not during a single scene like Kaij noted.
     
  10. Kaij
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    Kaij Senior Member

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    There's a difference between having several POVs and head hopping ;) One is the right way, the other is the wrong.
     

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