1. Totzlol
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    Totzlol Member

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    How do you manage radical scene changes from chapter to chapter?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Totzlol, Jan 21, 2014.

    I am currently working on a very large scale fantasy novel.

    There are two major sides to the story and chapters jump from one side to the other, and I am kind of feeling like the mood is getting meshed together. They're very different settings and to end one chapter in the first setting and put the reader into a completely different setting on the next page feels...odd?

    Is there something that can be done to change this or am I just over thinking it entirely?

    Thanks!
     
  2. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Well, without seeing anything you've written, I think I would suggest the crude but effective method of titling chapters with location and perhaps also the name of the character most associated with it. Your first chapter, entitled Scumbag City (locale), Frederick Smith(character), your second chapter The Drowned Dell (locale), Natalie Jones (character), back to Scumbag City and Fred, etc.

    It would be a good idea to 'end' each chapter with some kind of closure, though. So that the reader is prepared to move to something else, before returning to that setting again.
     
  3. Totzlol
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    Totzlol Member

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    Well, I hate to admit it but that never even crossed my mind. The chapters have all just been numerical.

    Giving it thought, though, that method actually fits in extremely well with the overall theme.

    Going that route, does it make sense to include the chapter numbers as well or should I omit those entirely, do you think?
     
  4. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Oh, I'd definitely include chapter numbers. Does no harm, and lessens confusion for the reader AND the writer!

    Do be aware that radical scene changes between chapters CAN be upsetting to a reader, until they settle into the new scenario. I remember how I felt, reading Tolkien's The Two Towers and Return of the King, when we'd be dropped from the Aragon/Gimli/Legolas story, to the Frodo/Sam story, to the Gandalf/Pippin story, etc. It always took a while to settle back into the next scene change. It worked beautifully from a structural point of view, but was a little bit hard on the reader.

    Just do what you can to make these changes as easy as possible for the reader. Good openers and good closures of each chapter will help.
     
  5. Totzlol
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    Totzlol Member

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    Hah, duly noted.

    Thanks for that! The impact you just made is pretty tremendous. =D
     
  6. Glacial
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    I know when I'm reading a story that jumps around a lot quite often I grow a lot more fond of one side of the story. Sometimes it puts me in a slump where I don't feel like picking it up for a bit, or sometimes it does the opposite where I can't help but rush through it to the next part. I'm just saying, be careful how you manage it and you're smart to try and get some help with it. :)

    My advice would be:

    For openers be sure you are clear and concise regarding the change in setting/ storyline. If the reader gets confused during the transition it will really turn them off.

    For closers it's a little tougher to manage I think... You might want to end on a bit of a cliff hanger to keep people interested in what will happen next in that side of things. But you also want to be sure you tie up something with each chapter. It's more satisfying for me as a reader if there is significant progression with a chapter, and makes it easier to accept a little cliff hanger to keep me hooked ;)

    Just some thoughts. Best of luck.
     
  7. yanlins
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    I have trouble if the novel has more than one POV, it really breaks immersion for me. So I tend to skip ahead until where the plot picks up again on the same POV and continue reading from there, that's how I handle it as a reader.

    As you can guess I don't do much of this writing, but what I can say is that for people like me, don't end the chapter on emotionally charged scenes. Try to moderate it back to average so that it gives an easier transition. Cutting where the action is might work for linear novels, to maintain tension but they fail horribly when you're talking about multiple POV.

    ~Yan
     
  8. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Rams suck, Go buffs.
     

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