Head-hopping: A Cardinal Sin, Says Who?
I just awarded one of my favourite Nordic Crime authors, Karin Fossum, four stars for her novel Black Seconds on Goodreads, despite the frequent shifts of viewpoint between her characters within individual scenes. If not for this, I would have awarded her novel five stars as it was brilliant in all other respects. You can read my review here
The difference between me and Karin Fossum — apart from the fact she’s Norwegian and I’m English and head-hopping in novels isn’t such an issue for many of the Nordic writers — is that she’s a published novelist and I’m not. I haven’t read her earliest novels, so have no idea if she has always head-hopped, or has become lazy, although the latter is most unlikely as she’s a disciplined and talented writer with a meticulous eye for detail.
As I surmise in my review, maybe head-hopping doesn’t bother non-writing readers in the way it alarms, if not infuriates readers who also write. I’m trying to think back to the time before I knew about the absolute no-nos of creative writing. Did I even notice if novelists broke the rules? Perhaps it only effected me on a sub-conscious level, in that I became bored with a book or kept losing concentration whenever head-hopping impeded the flow of the text on the page.
In attempting to weigh up whether readers’ expectations always match those of authors, I’m interested to hear what others think about this, so please spare a second or two to respond to my poll below.