Another Place and Time

After reading the very hurtful review left for my website/story a long time ago, I kind of tabled my soap until I could

get perspective. After looking through the early installments, I just cringe! I've been trying to improve and eliminate the over reliance on head-hopping but I still do seem to write from a 3rd person perspective.

Reviews like that make me sad, but it is part of the process of writing.

You know, I sympathise. Every year, the NaNoWriMo Fantasy forum gives me a complex about this issue (among other things).

IMO you can move between multiple PsOV without "head hopping". Just like sticking with one character has its drawbacks (lots of telling the POV character what others have been doing), having multiple characters has its challenges, but they can be navigated. Personally, I will forgive an author any numbers of PsOV if the story is snappy and compelling.

What I'm getting at is, use the right number of PsOV to tell the story! Worry about creating compelling and interesting characters and putting them in fun situations - and the technical aspects of writing - and you'll be fine. :)

(George R R Martin, practically a diety in the fantasy literature world, "head hops" something chronic.)

"head hopping" is a perfectly valid way of telling a story. When someone says it's "bad writing," what they really mean is "I don't like stories that do it."

Now, it's quite possible that perfectly valid ways of telling stories will be disliked. If "head hopping" proves to be a generally unpopular way telling a story these days, it doesn't matter if its valid or not... though in ten years when people decide they don't mind it as much it'll be perfectly fine.

For my own clarification....are you talking about swapping PoV characters within the same scene or simply within the same story? There's a big difference between the two, in my opinion.

The wonderful thing about writing in the third person is the fact that you can switch narrators from scene to scene. I'll admit that I do it a lot. It's when it's within the same scene that it starts to get dicey in large part because it's confusing. You never know who is thinking which thoughts.

That said, there's a terminology for the narrative style, which is third person omniscient, in which the author (and the reader) is in everybody's head at all times.

Most people say "bad writing" when they can't articulate why a story didn't work for them. Few people say "bad writing" when the story did.


Thanks for the responses! I've been trying to limit the 3rd person perspective to one character in each scene.

I always feel a little conflict because I want to rewrite the early scenes to make them more complete but my concept

for my online story was more like a soap opera. I often feel that a soap opera can't go back and correct mistakes so why should I! However, since this is a text-based soap, perhaps that rule can be broken.