I found this quote in a collection of quotes from Rosemary Friedman, entitled, A Writer’s Commonplace Book. I like this quote because it reminds me that a good writer can master the art of proper usage of Point of View and does not head hop from one character to another.
I used to have a real problem with writing proper point of view and I head hopped between characters; this must have driven my readers crazy. Now that I have a good sense about this and know how to write in the right way as it pertains to POV, I notice how the story flows more smoothly when you don’t head hop. This makes for easier reading and your audience of readers will appreciate your work more thoroughly.
When writing a scene, keep to one character’s point of view and you will see great results in a richer, more enjoyable novel. Allow the reader to get into one character’s head at a time. You can “hold two opposing opinions” in your head “at the same time;” however, as the writer, you must be able to let only one of those opinions reign supreme in a single scene.
How do you know if you’re head hopping? If your character can get into the other character’s head in the same scene, you’re not achieving your goal of sticking to one point of view per scene. Only write in that one scene what your character can see and feel and hear. If you start also writing what the other character can see and feel and hear, then you’re head hopping. This is confusing. It may seem like you are being unfair to the other character, but you’re only really being unfair to your own writing and to the reader.
If you stay within the boundaries of one point of view per scene, you will get more creative and you’ll find ways to get your point across with only staying in one character’s mind at a time. This will enable you to more fully develop that character. In another scene, you can stick with your other character’s point of view. This way he or she will get more fully developed as a character.
Writing without head hopping really brings your writing to a whole new level. I’ve learned that the hard way and feel that I am always learning as a writer and hope that every novel I write only gets better.