Runaway Point of View

I've written about POV before, but decided it wouldn't hurt to do it again.

I recently read a published book that would have been quite good if it weren't for the problem of head hopping within scenes.

I'm not at all opposed to using different POVs in a book. My Rocky Bluff P.D. crime novels are always told from multiple POVs--BUT I only use one POV per scene. The POV character is always the one with the most at stake in that particular scene. He or she is telling the story as he or see experiences it. So everything will be coming through that person. The narration is essentially what that person is thinking--so there's no need to say he thought, smelled, heard. Just put it what it is that he thinks, smells or head. For example:

He knew he'd forgotten something.

Oh, oh, the toast was burning.

Someone pounded on the door.

Remember, your POV character can never know what someone else is thinking. He or she can guess what the other person might be thinking or considering, but he can't get inside that character's head.

I hope that helps someone grasp POV.

For the reader, it can be disconcerting and even confusing when an author head hops.



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