Saturday, October 9, 2010

A little something to help bring your writing alive!

      Have you wondered what it was exactly that made you fall in love with the last book you read? I mean the one that totally pulled you right into the story to become one of the characters in the book? The words would have swirled around you with such comfort you found yourself on page 52 before you realized you were that far into the story. You felt what the characters were feeling, smelling, touching...the amazing ability of a writer to do that for you is not something that just happens. The author knows how to pull you in without you realizing it.

      Next time you pick up a book, try to pay attention to the point of view in the story. For those who don't know what that is, it's being in the head of the main characters. Take for instance the heroine - she lets you know what she thinks about things, how she feels when she sees a man who makes her heart skip a beat or how the sound of trickling water over stones in a stream immediately calms her down. A good author will not be in one head for a paragraph, then hop into another character's head and back to the main character. The writer will stay with the main character's thoughts for a full scene or more, sometimes a full chapter. This type of writing keeps the reader moving along smoothly in the story.

      If the author head hops, this will cause the reader to have to go back and reread lines or paragraphs in order to remember who's thoughts were the correct character. Try to watch for that next time you read. If you find that you zip right through a book, it's because the author wrote so you didn't have to reread lines again and again to figure out whose head you were in.

      Does this make any sense to you?  LOL Some will read a few pages in the store before they purchase a book to look for this exact thing. Does the author head hop? If so, it will take you longer to read a book this way because you will be confused as you read. Head hopping makes the reader dizzy and I find myself doing that also when I read an author who head hops. It's just irritating to me as a reader. I hate having to go back and reread paragraphs to figure out where I should be.

      I hope I haven't ruined you for reading some of the great books out there. Just because head hopping goes on in the writing doesn't mean the book is bad, it may just take you longer to get through it. Have you read books that you've had to do this? How did you feel when you had to keep going back to reread? Thanks for sharing with us!


  1. I have read books like that and they drive me nuts! You have to keep looking back at the pages you already read to fugure out what is going on. I love the books where all of sudden you are in the middle or even near the end and you don't even realize it. It's just a great read.
    Sue B

  2. I have read books like that and I find that I can't finish them. I love the books where I get so involved that I don't want to put the book down.

  3. Good ppint. some authors do 'head hop'successfuly, though (Maeve Binchy among others) but she is very systematic about it. I guess it comes down to changing POV with intention and knowing how to emply this device in order to be successful.