I'm currently listening to the audio of book 1 in the Chesapeake series from my hero Nora Roberts.

God I love the brothers in this story. Book 1 is Cam's story and, sighs, how I love him and Philip and Ethan... and of course Seth.

If you like MF, then this is my FIRST recommendation to you. I can't begin to explain how much I love these books!

But... the head hopping between characters is disconcerting ... and i realized I posted about this in 2013 and what I said then is pretty much what I would say now...

Previous post:

I received a lovely book for Christmas from my sister, a two story Nora Roberts paperback.

I haven't read any Nora for the longest time but her Chesapeake series is on my list of most favorite books of all time. She is my comfort read.


Thing is, I've read about three chapters and have a pointed question.

She head hops like woooahhhh... One minute we are in the guys head, then the girls, then the kid's. We even have a random paragraph in the guy's bit from his dog's POV.

I used to read Nora Roberts all the time, and I love her but I didn't realize how much she head hops. Yet, as a writer, I am told not to head hop at all. Told that a chapter, or at least a defined scene is from one POV and that is it.

Does this kind of single POV writing make us lazy readers?

I must admit where I used to read Nora's writing and follow it perfectly, this book is throwing me out of sorts with it's sudden changes in direction. Is it because head hopping is wrong? Or should we all be writing with as many POVs in our books as possible.

Is it that we have gone too far the other way by restricting our POVs?

Incidentally, look at the cover of the book next to New York Christmas... stock photography FTW... but we got there first.... he he



21 comments:

  1. I've noticed head hopping more than I used to in books by some of my favorite big name authors. And it makes me wonder why they can do it, but we're told it's a big no-no. I have a tendency to head hop and have to make myself pay more attention to what I'm doing rather than letting the story flow when I'm writing. But I'm kind of happy I'm not the only who's noticed and wondered about it. :)

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    1. I think there are more of us as well West... :)

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  2. I cannot even with Nora Roberts. >_> I know she's extremely popular, but the head hopping drive me nuts. I like to stay in one character's POV at a time, or else I am completely thrown out of the story. ^_^

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    1. I grew up on her writing and that of the other *silhouette* authors... I will read this book because I am already hooked... but yeah, the head hopping is hard... :(

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  3. I've always loved her writing, because she doesn't stick to a "formulaic" pattern. Her books under the pen name J.D. Robb are pretty much exclusively the main character with tiny bits of the main bad guy's thoughts, as a tease.

    I love books where I can see several angles at once. If I am really in love with a particular character though, I want to see things mostly from that character's POV, though that could just me being selfish. :P

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    1. I gave up on the JD Robb books... even though I loved the first few... :)

      And no, it's not selfish at all...

      X

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  4. I think if the head hopping is not too long or not to often then its not so bad .I am reading a book now where its in short burst so it not so bad to keep up... Vicky

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    1. cool... I will be reading more later and I think once i get used to it i will be fine... :)

      RJ XXX

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  5. Head hopping doesn't bother me ... neither does whole chunks of the book from one perspective then switching to another after a chapter or so ... And I am ok with the whole book being from one perspective ... Guess I am easy to please as long as the book has a good story and is well edited and doesn't have a thousand typos. THAT is what puts me off a book rather than character POV.

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    1. I do like a good story, and hear you on the typos... :)

      RJ XXXX

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  6. I'm on the fence on the head hopping. Some stories really bother me when I'm switching between POVs randomly. Other times, I just *need* to know what the others are thinking. I guess I agree with AnnMarie, it all depends on the story. To be honest, I like first person POV the best, though.

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    1. I've never written 1st person before... i may have to try it one day... :)

      RJ XXXXXX

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  7. I agree, the Chesapeake books are great and I have the Boonsboro ones to read yet. These two in your book are quite old now and I'd forgotten about the dog! I dont think she's as bad now or maybe I dont notice it.
    Generally, if the story is strong and writing good I dont really notice/mind

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    1. It's just a very different way to the way I write now... *is getting old... ROFL

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  8. If I find myself having to stop go back to figure out who is "speaking" now too many times I have been know to virtually throw a book down in disgust. I don't actually throw my nook but I have deleted a book or two for just this sort of writing. Bad editing also makes me grind my teeth and at my age that's a bad thing. I think I would have made a good editor, from a reader's perspective maybe not so much from an author's.

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    1. Grinding teeth isn't good... rofl... RJ XXXXXX

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  9. I never really noticed head hopping until I submitted my first book, now it is one of my big bug bears with 'well known' writers. It seems they do it all the time and it drives me crazy. I was reading a Reginald Hill the other day and he head-hopped all over the place, not just with the two MCs but secondary characters as well.
    Something else I've noticed, really long (like paragraph long) sentences, so long that I have to go back and read them again to understand them. The offender that time was Alistair MacLean. You wonder how many of these author's would cope starting out now in the e-book market.

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    1. I just get confused when the dog got thrown in the mix as well... ROFL... RJ XXXXX

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  10. Well, I write fan-fiction and I'm working at my first full novel (fingers crossed!), so my perspective may be a bit skewed.

    I love the freedom I can embrace with fan-fiction. I will literally hop into someone else's perspective every thousand words or so, which is one thing, since I have developed ways to mark the separation for any of my readers. My first few fictions were incredibly confusing to some people until I updated that part, I think.

    As an author, I feel it's important to show different sides of the same things. But I've read Nora Roberts --and I'm clearer about when I'm changing perspective than she is. Also, there is too much of a good thing with that one. It can be overwhelming for the author to write too many perspectives, not to mention the reader who has to keep all these things straight! One of my current fan-fictions shifts to eight different perspectives (and more may come in) with first-person from all of them. It gets challenging to manage so many things all at once!

    So I would encourage a little extra-curricular experimenting on a personal level. See if you like writing like that, see if it flows well, and work on some simple cues to let your audience know things are shifting.
    The best piece I've read for simple, subtle clues as to when a perspective was changing was "Prelude" by Shira Anthony & Veronica Keyes. Or you can go not-so-subtle and do what one bestseller does: title the chapter with the name of the character who's head you're in at the moment.

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    1. I started out in fanfiction... in the J2 world... which I left in 2010... (wow, that seems like such a long time ago). Clues as to POV switch is important but I also only have, in general, one POV per chap. Sometimes the chap will split into two with two POV... Only The Heart Of Texas has more than 2 POVs in it... :)

      Good luck with the novel...

      RJ X

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  11. I had a similar moment when I went back and read an old Julie Garwood that was one of my favorites in high school.

    Generally, I associate head hopping with a (failed) attempt at writing omniscient, which is a wholly different beast. That's not always the case, but sometimes, I think that it is. Other times I think an author just wants too much to let the reader know how other characters in the room feel or what they're thinking, and the only way they can think to do that is to hop into that character's POV for a sentence or a paragraph to tell the reader directly.

    Despite what the old guard and big publications do, I still think head hopping is something to be avoided. I don't mind changing POVs (welcome them in fact), but the changes should be limited to scene breaks or chapter breaks. As a reader and editor, I find POVs that constantly hop between paragraphs (or sometimes sentences) to be disruptive.

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