I'm working through one of my Rita-nominated westerns, a book I wrote probably fifteen years ago. It's still a classic romance, but the headhopping occasionally sets my head spinning. But the more I study what I did then, I understand that what we do now is different, but not necessarily better.
Yes, some of the headhopping is simply laziness, or trying to write quickly on a bad typewriter or a poor computer. I particularly like the places where the protagonists describe themselves while in their own point of view. "G" And I started striking out all the places where secondary characters comment on the emotions written in the protagonists faces. At the time I wrote those scenes, I wanted the reader to see what the protagonists wouldn't admit. Maybe I got lazy as I progressed through the edit, but now I'm starting to wonder whether I ought to be eliminating that poignancy.
Headhopping eliminates all that infernal "gazing" into each other's eyes to read things that are practically impossible for anyone beyond a psychic to see. It also gives us glimpses of scenes from a different perspective, and eliminates a lot of internal thought process that slows down the action.
I'm off to California shortly to visit with family, but I thought I'd leave you with this tiny fraction of subtle headhopping that I haven't quite figured out how to edit or if I'll bother. The rest of the scene is actually in Sloan's POV.
Sam nodded. "It's a pleasure to meet you. You'll forgive me for not shaking hands right now." She exchanged nods with the small man still working with the horse, gave the new colt a critical look, then turned her gaze up to the blond version of Sloan beside her. "I take it you're Matthew. Sloan hasn't told me a blamed thing about you."
Sloan made a "tsking" noise. "Your language, Miss Neely. We wouldn't want to reveal that we're from the hills, would we?"
She continued looking at his brother. "Why haven't you killed him by now?" she asked with a perfectly straight face.