Head hopping is an unforgivable sin that no author should ever commit! In the voice of my bestie, Faith, “Lies you tell.” Head hopping is when you bounce from one character’s point of view to another within a scene or chapter. I’ve read many “how to” articles on craft that frequently frown upon the act of head hopping. The logic for this opinion is that it confuses readers by shocking them out of the story when an author abruptly jumps from one character’s point of view to another.
On this point I will agree that authors shouldn’t skip from one POV to another with no warning and especially in the middle of a scene. However, head hopping—when done correctly—can offer an enriching experience for your reader, allowing them to see the same story from several sides of the page.
In my opinion, the most effective way to head hop is by making certain a scene is finished—meaning there is a distinguishable conclusion to that character’s perspective during the scene. Once you’ve done that, place a scene break symbol (three to five asterisks: ***) on a line between the end of the paragraph expressing the first character’s perspective and the paragraph where the new character’s perspective begins. Read the excerpt from my novel, POWER PRIVILEGE & PLEASURE: QKB4 to see an example of how I use head hopping in my books. (Excerpt at end of this article.)
Now maybe it’s just my particular brand of crazy, but I really enjoy the opportunity to see inside both protagonists’ heads/emotions/desires. This is especially true when there’s an, “I love you, but I hate you,” sort of theme running throughout the story. Ultimately it helps provide yet another level of understanding of how the characters actually relate to one another. In this case, the reader gets to see what both characters have been thinking before this encounter. They each want each other, but both fight as if they hate each other. Neither revealing to one another the depths of which their desire runs. Isn’t that so much fun?
A subsequent reason to consider using alternating perspectives when writing is it can unlock unexpected needs, desires, and motivations of your characters, bringing a new depth to your story you might not have anticipated. For instance, if you know exactly what you’re supposed to be writing, but can’t seem to get the words to align correctly on the page, try changing the character point of view. Maybe the current character’s perspective isn’t the vantage point that will provide that scene or chapter with the greatest emotional or physical depth possible. Just remember when you choose the perspective or point of view, the character that brings the greatest depth of emotion and description to the scene is the one who wins the head hop.
Thanks for spending a little time with me. This is LaQuette, your friendly erotic romance author, embracing my crazy…one character at a time.♥
2015 Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Award Finalist in Erotic Romance, 2015 Swirl Awards Finalist in Romantic Suspense, bestselling erotic romance author, LaQuette, is a native of Brooklyn, New York. She spends her time catering to her three distinct personalities: Wife, Mother, and Educator. LaQuette loves hearing from readers and discussing the crazy characters that are running around in her head causing so much trouble. Contact her on Facebook, Twitter, @LaQuetteLikes, her website, www.NovelsbyLaQuette.com, Amazon, her Facebook group, LaQuette's Lounge, and via email at NovelsbyLaQuette@gmail.com.
“You have the sexiest f#*@ing mouth I’ve ever seen,” he growled. “It would look so much prettier stretched around my c#@k than spewing the venom you insist on spitting.”
He waited for the slap that he knew was coming. If he’d been on the receiving end of a statement like that he’d certainly have been looking to hit someone. But she didn’t hit him, even though she had every right to. Instead, she stepped closer into his space and spread those f#*@able lips into the most alluring smile.
“If you think you’re man enough to get me to put my mouth to use like that, Quillen, then make me. Or are you just all talk?”
Finally! After all these f#*@ing years he’s finally catching on.
A.J. pressed herself into Alan’s personal space. She hoped she didn’t have to give him much more of a clue. Shouldn’t her body pressed against his be enough of an obvious statement that he’d get the hint? Well if it wasn’t, for damn sure she was only two seconds away from spelling her desires out frankly and clearly.
The heated exchange they shared was the closest she’d ever come to letting him see what she’d been aching for all this time. She’d known from day one she couldn’t have him, so she’d set out to make him as miserable as his sex appeal made her. She’d decided that the quiet calm he always seemed to be cloaked in was the one pressure point she could attack until he finally exploded. No way was she going to be the only one frustrated in this scenario. If she couldn’t get the d#*k she wanted so terribly, then he couldn’t keep that blessed peace he walked around with every day.###