Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Mike Duran on Stephen King breaking the rules

This a great post.

Interesting to hear Stephen King commits the sin of 'head hopping' too, a phenomenon I've just become aware of.

I've worked to minimize it my book, but there are still likely some examples skulking about.

I set out to write in limited third person, as much as I thought about it, but the rules for this POV seem a little different, and more strict, than they were twenty years ago.

After becoming aware of 'head hopping', I picked up a Dean Koontz book and one by Arthur C. Clarke, just to see how they handled POV. Within a page, both authors 'head hopped'. Both! The Koontz book was written within the last five years (one of his Frankenstein series), while the Clarke book was written in the early eighties (Songs of a Distant Earth).

Stephen King wrote The Stand in 1978, and he apparently 'head hops' all over the place.

Now, I can see how it can be confusing, and I understand why authors would chose to use only one 'head' per chapter or scene, yet I think fanatical adherence to rules just restricts creativity. Some leeway should be allowed.

After all, I remember reading The Stand and quite enjoying it. I don't remember being confused at all. Same goes for Clarke and Koontz.

Yet people claim to throw books against the wall, or into the garbage, never to be read again, just because they found an incidence of 'head hopping'.

Ye gods! Seriously? 

It seems absurdly intolerant. Unless you bought the book second hand at 99 cents. Even then it'd be better to use it for kindling, a page at a time, rather than landfill. Heck, sell it back to the bookstore. Give it to a homeless person. Make a thousand plane paper airforce.

And just because most people aren't writing in omniscient third person doesn't mean no one should be allowed to.

There are still old people out there who can handle third person omniscient POV, and odds are they read more books than most teenagers do.

Take a chill pill, people.

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