Writing Tip #1 Head Hopping

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This is the first of 12 posts for Writers who are planning to self-publish using the great services now available to the amateur writer, such as Smashwords, Amazon KDP, CreateSpace etc.

As a member of the panel of The Kindle Book Review, I’ve been reading a lot of indie books lately, and in book after book I keep spotting the same silly mistakes. You may not think these mistakes are worth worrying about, but take my word for it, these are the kindergarten ABC of mistakes, straight from week1 of “Good Writing 101”. You might get away with one or two of them; maybe people won’t notice. But if you consistently break these rules your chances of building a career as an author will be blighted.

If you have already published an eBook that includes mistakes like these, you can still recover the situation. Thanks to the magic of ePublishing, you have the option to unpublish, edit and publish again.

Here’s the first of my top writing mistakes.

1. Head Hopping

This has to be the #1 silly mistake that fledgling writers make. It is so important to maintain a consistent point of view. That is not to say that you have to stick to one (or a few) points of view, but it must be controlled. Stick to one point of view for the whole book, chapter or at least for each scene. There’s nothing worse for a reader than jumping from one character’s viewpoint to another in a single scene or passage. And please don’t mention the word “omniscient”. Writing a novel from the omniscient point of view is a rare skill that few accomplished novelists ever achieve. Don’t even think about going there.

“Take a load off,” said Sadie.

John ran his eyes over the woman. She looked good enough to eat. Even the Chihuahua in her handbag would have made a tidy snack.

“Order something,” she said, handing him a menu.

As John checked the menu, Sadie looked him over. Her first impression had been favorable, but that was under poor lighting. The lines on his face showed his age, and a lot of what she thought was muscle was fat. Really he was just another overweight punk out for what he could get.

As the waitress took their orders, the Chihuahua began to drool at the expectation of tidbits to come.

Watch out for the next writing tip in the series.

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