1. KillianRussell
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    KillianRussell Contributing Member

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    Narrative shift

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by KillianRussell, Apr 14, 2011.

    In a third person limited, when the p.o.v. character splits but the scene continues is where a chapter break would be in order to alter narrative perspective .

    Case in point: My flesh eating ghoul has raped and pilliaged for 3500 words before fleeing back to his lair.

    When the Doctor (really a Japanese Vampire in disguise)
    tends to the wounded, I can not expose his inner plot to kill the survivors without a chapter break in the 1000 word ending ?
     
  2. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    Scene break, not necessarily a chapter break.

    Though, it may feel awkward if your entire novel is written in a limited, third person of a ghoul, and only 1k words are written outside that perspective. If you're giving a two-perspective sort of story, and the Japanese-vampire-in-disguise doctor's story really matters, it should have more focus than 1k words to be effective, most likely.

    So, yeah, a scene break is what you need, as scene breaks and page or chapter breaks are different things, so it's not an either/or situation. If you've been going with an alternating chapter format, one from the ghoul, one from the doctor, then consider just having a short chapter, as there's really no rule against it and it may be less confusing than a scene break having to re-establish the pov into a new character right at the end of a chapter.
     
  3. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I see people using different pOVs without a blank space between them. But wouldn't that interrupt the scene? What would be the right/professional way of shifting then? so many writers seem to do this way and I don't like to read it because sometimes I have to go back to see who's head i'm in :)
     
  4. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    Exactly. If you're having to spend effort figuring out who's even thinking something or what details are from which character's perspective, then the writer isn't doing their job. That's why the scene break is a simple, but elegant solution, as it clues the reader into the possibility of a switch in pov or perspective. Note that it's only a possibility, as the writer still has to ground the opening of a new scene in the pov and perspective, of course.

    And if the writer is working in an omni, third person pov, it may be perfectly acceptable for them to be giving various perspectives and it not technically being a pov shift/break. Though, there's a reason it's often done by amateurs and these days, at least, rarely done by professionals.
     

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