Professor Pat patters up to the podium. Whack, goes the gavel. “Class, come to order. I have been asked—for the thousandth time—how to switch point of view within a scene. I thought I’d taught you that there is no Right way to Write.”
Perky Pam waves her hand. “But we were taught that headhopping is punishable by firing squad. It dilutes the emotional tension!”
“Shoot that woman.” Professor Pat gestures to the firing squad. “Perky isn’t allowed here—but blatant self-promotion is,” she adds pertly.
Okay, so I was preparing an answer to a FAQ when it occurred to me that I could kill two birds with one stone, or two writers with one quill, or whatever metaphor you want to mangle today. I have had people (including copyeditors who ought to know better) complain about my nasty habit of changing POVs without warning in the middle of a scene. Since I examine all my work inside out and upside down, I have concluded I generally start doing this right about the time the couple start working together, so I’m quite happy to leave my style just as it is.
As the song says, there are a million ways to leave your point of view… The below excerpt at about the first quarter point of MAGIC MAN (Signet Eclipse—ON SALE 6/30 <G>) shows just one of many:
“If we could harness all the energy in this room,” Mr. Dougal murmured, leaning his elbow on the top of the secretary and speaking so only Mora could hear, “we could power Ewen’s flying machine.”
She fully understood his reference to energy. The room bristled with primal vibrations that seemed to be affecting her as well. She was amazed that their thoughts took parallel paths. “Flying machine?” she asked faintly, his closeness reducing the room to the two of them.
“I’ll show you later. Did they pry the rest of the message from you?”
She nodded. “I’m sorry. If it applies to their family, and there’s some real danger, I thought I must.”
“Let’s make the best of it, then,” he said without reproof.
Before she could question him further, he spoke loudly to break the chatter filling the salon. “If we divide up for a search, I recommend the ladies stay in pairs. If Felicity and Leila are confined to this floor, then Ninian should help Christina search the tower, if only to keep Drogo from flinging the duchess out of it. Ewen, you take the public rooms downstairs. Dunstan, the servants’ quarters and greenhouse.”
“That leaves Mora without a partner,” Christina pointed out.
“She and I will search the walls for hiding places,” he said with satisfaction.
Dunstan and Ewen hooted and whistled knowingly. The ladies exchanged laughing looks. Aidan disregarded the provocation. He’d accomplished what he wanted. Miss Abbott was looking at him with admiration and a hint of surprise.
How do you like the way Mr. Dougal took command of that scene right out of our heroine’s hands? Head?
Headhopping may dilute emotional intensity, but who in heck wants to be deep down in someone’s head or heart all the time? It’s much more fun to see how they react against each other sometimes.
See, be very wary what you ask me. I just might tell you.