Omniscient POV versus Head-Hopping

Myths of the Mirror


Today, I’m going a little techie for all the writers out there. This is another one of my “learn by failure” posts.

When we write, we strive for stories that will grip our readers. We want an emotional investment, and the best way to do that is to immerse our readers inside our character’s head, heart, and skin, the deeper the better. The reader sees, hears, smells, and experiences what the character does, up close and personal.

When I started writing, I was a point-of-view “head-hopper.” I wanted to share every character’s thoughts and feelings in every scene. My writer’s group rolled their eyes and eventually critiqued it out of me. I learned the hard way – by rewriting my entire book!

Head-hopping is a common glitch in early writing as authors learn the ropes. It’s often confused with a Third Person Omniscient Point of View. So, what’s the difference?

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9 thoughts on “Omniscient POV versus Head-Hopping

    • Yes, less is definitely better for head-hopping. When I first started writing, I was pretty bad about doing it. I have learned to control myself much better. 😀

      Some hopping doesn’t bother me but if it’s done too much it can jar me from the story.

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      • I think most writers head-hopped when they first started writing. Fortunately (for me….I was also guilty of it), I learned about it long before I started publishing. Today, even best-selling authors can get away with it if it’s not overdone. I’m not sure Nora Roberts would know how to write any other way, LOL

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      • Where I got it from was from best selling authors. I think the Omniscient is at times construed as head-hopping. Nora Roberts does it. She said she didn’t know any better starting out and she’d always written like that. I’ve not read a lot of her books, so I’m not sure which she’s doing. I read a lot of Mary Higgins Clark and that’s why I wrote like that. What I thought at the time was Omniscient may have been head-hopping. I think it’s a fine line. I have had a critique partner say something was in the wrong POV when I felt it was something the POV character could observe from the other person. However, it should probably be done in a different way unless the POV character is a sensitive or psychic. 🙂


      • LOL, I answered before reading the last sentence in your comment. When I read bestselling authors get away with, my mind shot directly to Nora Roberts. Then I went back and read the last sentence and saw your Nora statement. I agree. She wouldn’t be able to not head-hop and why should she? Readers love her work.

        Liked by 1 person

      • LOL! Yep, some of Nora’s books rank among my favorites. Mary Higgins Clark is a fabulous writer too. I actually like an omniscient POV and wish more authors wrote that way but it is difficult to pull off. I’ve tried it a few times and usually end up abandoning it for multiple third-person.

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