Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Head Hopping

I wrote last week about point of view (POV) and the problems it caused and solved. I decided to overcome the POV problems by using three different points of view, told by a narrator.


The important thing is to make it quite clear which point of view each section of the story is from. The sections have to be clearly delineated to avoid confusing the reader. But when you are writing, it is SO easy to hop heads without even noticing.

Here’s an example – can you spot where the point of view shifts away from Darrow, the Captain?

Darrow took a deep breath and crossed the corridor to the mess hall. The four representatives were there and all began talking at once.
“Excuse me gentlemen, can I have silence please?” he began in a quiet voice. They all sat down in silence and looked at him.
“I understand your concern, believe me, and I do not make this decision lightly. If we do not take this opportunity, we may never have the chance again. You are here to represent your governments, and I have welcomed your input and your expertise. But I am in command of this ship and this mission, and I will not change my mind. Thank you.”
Darrow turned and left. The representatives looked at each other in stunned silence. Then Ehu burst out laughing.

Did you spot it? How does Darrow know that Ehu burst out laughing when he had already left? It was a shame, because I liked that line. I eventually found a way to keep it in.

The representatives looked at each other in stunned silence. Darrow turned and left. As the door closed behind him he heard Ehu burst out laughing.
Is that with me or at me? he wondered.

Ann Marie Thomas head shot (80x90) (300dpi) Web GravatarAnn Marie Thomas is the author of three medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, is out now. Follow her at

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