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  • Third Person Multiple POVs

    Posted by Sophie Ebeling on 11 September 2023 at 10:47


    I am really struggling with ‘head hopping’ without realising I was doing it!

    I am writing in a third person narrative with a combination of omniscient and limited through the main character’s POV.

    But I switch in chapters (new paragraphs) to get an insight into someone else’s thoughts and feelings. I put an extract on Friday Feedback and people said it was head hopping.

    I have been reading Where the Crawdads Sing and Delia Owens swaps POV constantly throughout and it didn’t effect me so I didn’t think anything of it. I now know it’s not the done thing but I don’t know how to change the other POV without losing the understanding of the other character and what is happening in the scene!

    Any ideas? TIA.

    For example this first chapter is all in Mabel’s POV or omniscient view. Then I have the other main character in this snippet. How can I give the reader this info without it being his POV?

    One day on the return home, after a much brisker stroll than intended, the pram collided into Mr Ebeling as they both approached the front gate.

    “Good evening Ms Jennings.” Ever the gentleman, he gestured for her to go in first, but his tone filled her with dread at her late arrival home.

    “I am very sorry Sir, we were feeding the ducks and lost track of time. I will put Bernie to bed at once and then prepare your meal.” Mabel babbled.

    “Did I say I was displeased Ms Jennings? I will read my newspaper until supper is ready.” Mr Ebeling vanished into his study and closed the door, leaving a stunned Mabel behind.

    After the baby was settled for the night, Mabel got to work in the kitchen.

    Mr Ebeling was roused from his reading by the smell of suet ravishing the house. Licking his lips in anticipation, he looked forward to the stew and dumplings he could tell were in the oven — so far Mabel had impressed him with her cooking prowess. As a head waiter at a prestigious restaurant and trained in the catering industry, Mr Ebeling had high expectations, but was pleasantly surprised that his new nanny had surpassed them.

    Genevieve Puttay replied 5 months, 2 weeks ago 2 Members · 3 Replies
  • 3 Replies
  • Genevieve Puttay

    11 September 2023 at 15:13

    Hi Sophie,

    You can still convey the other character’s feelings, but you’ll just need to do it from your MC’s POV. So, with your example (in bold), you could perhaps say,

    “Not twenty minutes after Mabel slid the suet pudding into the oven, Mr Ebeling drifted into the kitchen with wolfish eyes and a salivating smile. He’d once trained the crème de la crème of the catering industry, so it amused Mabel that he be lured so easily with beef skirt and butter.”

    This way, you’re still conveying the same information, but you’re just giving Mabel’s take on it. A close 3rd perspective is similar to 1st, in the sense that you are limited to what the main character sees and what they know, which can feel quite confining… but, it also means you can really explore your MC’s personality and have fun with that voice.

    I hope this helps!

    All the best,


    • Sophie Ebeling

      11 September 2023 at 15:31

      Hi Gen,

      That is really helpful! Thank you so much for your example, it has helped me understand it much better.😀

      • Genevieve Puttay

        11 September 2023 at 16:04

        You’re so welcome! Best of luck with it going forward!