I was merrily reading a book, a sequel I'd gone out of my way to acquire, when suddenly, my sheer enjoyment of the storyline came to a halt, and I went, huh?
I didn't know whose head I was in. A minor character began thinking things, which interrupted my exciting journey with one of the two main characters. It seriously bummed me out.
Point-of-view is a sore point with me, and, yes, I'm using the same word three times in one sentence to make a point. I'm sure everyone knows that POV is the eyes through which we tell our stories. We can write in first, second, third or omniscient POV, but somebody is taking us on the journey. And the reader gets used to knowing who is talking to them. You really don't want to make the reader go, huh?
At the very least, anything that takes a reader out of story may irritate or confuse them. At worst, they may stop reading the book and not buy another by that author. My advice to both aspiring and published authors is to think before you bounce between heads.
Many times when I encounter these rough patches, the POV switch was not necessary. The author may defend it, saying there is no other way to let us know some vital information, but most often that is not true.
In the book I mentioned above the information imparted by the minor character could have been inserted with dialogue and action, thus never upsetting this sensitive reader or leading to this blog rant. And, no, I won't name book or author. First, because I don't want to go that route and, second, because this type of writing can be found everywhere.
I have had this discussion with other writers. Some defend multiple and frequent POV switches, pointing out best-selling authors who do it, and others shrug and say they think it's becoming more popular. At the risk of stretching my neck waaaay out there (I picture some of you sharpening your axes), I think it's lazy writing, an easy way to plop info into the story. And that's how it makes me feel as a reader, like I've been plopped on.
To be clear, I'm not talking about the classic method of presenting different characters' perspectives in alternating chapters. Readers can get their bearings in stories told that way. What I'm describing is being in a scene with a bunch of characters and wondering, "Was that thought Joan's? No, we were just in Joe's head. Oh, is it Jane who's thinking now?"
Trust me. You really don't want to make me go, huh?
The comment section is open. Fire away. I've got my flak jacket on.