Monthly Archives May 2014

Critique Technique, Part 50—Head-Hopping

By Ross B. Lampert

Funny frog

Image by Zela, from RGBstock.com

Today’s topic doesn’t have anything to do with drug-addled frogs (or any kind of frogs, for that matter), actress and gossip columnist Hedda Hopper, or some strange horror movie. Or some even stranger Addams Family-meets-Mitch Miller sing-along show: “Follow the bouncing head and sing along to….” (Man, that’s really weird.)

No, fortunately, head-hopping in the context of writing is a form of point of view (POV) shifting. What happens is the writer jumps from the viewpoint of one character to another within a scene or even a paragraph. This is an easy trap for new writers to fall into (although more experienced ones can do it too)...

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Critique Technique, Part 49—Stating the Obvious

By Ross B. Lampert

Two people talking

Photo by Ambro, courtesy FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When I was studying for my bachelor’s degree in physics, one of the things I hated—HATED—was when a textbook’s author would write “…it is intuitively obvious to the casual observer that…” and then go on to describe something that was anything but obvious, at least to me. I guess I wasn’t a casual observer.

The topic of this post is not quite the opposite of what those physicists were doing. They assumed what they were about to present was obvious because to them it was. Fiction writers, on the other hand, just come out and say what really is obvious to the reader, even the casual one.

Sometimes this takes the form of the “As you know, Bob…” statement, in which one character tells another something the secon...

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