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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Basic Point of View, part eleven

Do not switch points of view during the scene.

This is called “head hopping” and it marks you as an amateur.

Yes, other multi-published, bestselling authors head hop in their own books, but you are a new writer trying to break into publishing, and you shouldn’t do it.

In the current publishing business, head hopping in your manuscript will decrease your chances of being published, plain and simple.

If you switch point of view, insert a scene break to indicate the change in character viewpoint.

Some writers will write part of the scene in one person’s point of view, insert a section break, then continue the scene in the other character’s point of view. Then they’ll insert another section break, and continue the scene back in the first person’s point of view.

While this isn’t “wrong,” I personally dislike this. It smacks of lazy writing, in my opinion.

I think that a good writer should be able to write a complete scene in one person’s point of view without absolutely needing to switch to the other person’s point of view right in the middle of the scene for a short section.

I think that a good writer will be able to show the other character’s emotions through the viewpoint character’s eyes, or defer describing the other person’s emotional reaction to another scene.

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