1. AbelOutCast
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    AbelOutCast New Member

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    Scene transitions?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by AbelOutCast, Aug 11, 2012.

    So I just finished a draft of my first novel.
    Well, at least the first I finished, so I've printed it out and read it. The first and biggest problem I've noticed is my transition into different scenes.

    For example, I have a scene set up where a guy is dreaming about his girlfriend then abruptly changes to a dream with his father. So far all I could come up with is "A moment later the world faded into...." Do you guys have any ideas or suggestions as to where I might get some decent examples?

    Also, I occassionally switch from the main character to another character's perspective. Those bits range anywhere from a couple pages to almost a full chapter. A friend of mine says that I should stretch out the shorter ones and just make them all their own chapters. What do you think?
     
  2. LuminousTyto
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    LuminousTyto Senior Member

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    Yeah make each POV character get their own chapters. Also you need your chapters to vary a bit. Ending a chapter with your character dreaming, and then starting another with him/her still dreaming is repetitive. But it's okay, this is your first draft. Time to edit and make it better!
     
  3. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Making them their own chapter would be easier on the reader, but you could separate each dream into a different part of the night. Describe one, do a page break *** or ### and then move into your next dream for a chapter. However, for POV changes, you DO need to do page breaks unless you're masterful at combined multiple viewpoints, which, in my opinion, only a few are skilled at.
     
  4. AbelOutCast
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    AbelOutCast New Member

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    thank you for your help with the POV stuff!
    As far as the dream thing though, that was only an example, and the entire dream only lasted about a page and a half total. Basically what I was looking for was help going from Point A to Point B. Another example could be two kids having a conversation on their way to school. Then they're at lunch, how could I transition them from walking to school to lunchtime smoothly?
     
  5. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    How much time passes for them? I took a scene, used it as a chapter break, and kept the reader from going through another 2-3 pages of my MC's sneaking through roads to get to their target. Feel the flow of your book, each scene will tell you when to is a good time to make a break. POV changes are done when you want to change who's seeing the scene. I have a scene where Jennifer, MC 1B, is running from some men and into the waiting arms of a skin suit (mobile tank). It ends with her telling the operator to shoot her.

    The POV switches to Kate, my MC 1, and carries her through a lot of trials and tribulations, to end up at the same place at the same time. The big difference was the change of POV.

    If you're doing a day like that, you can start with walking to school and then switch immediately to lunch. ex..they could see each other after class and head for lunch
     
  6. AbelOutCast
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    AbelOutCast New Member

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    Yeah, that's what I meant, but the problem I'm having is going from class to lunch. Do I just finish their conversation like:
    Billy slumped his head down when school came into view.

    When they finally got lunch time . . .
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Changes in POV can occur on scene boundaries. Just make sure the first thing you do (first sentence) of the new scene makes the POV change clear to the reader. It's safer to only switch POV on a chapter boundaries, but it can be too restricting for many stories.

    A handful of writers can manage POV changes within a scene, but I cannot recommend it in general.
     
  8. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    That is acceptable, yes, especially if it's aimed for young teens. I've been reading a YA novel, urban fantasy by James Patterson and he literally wrote something like:

    Those were lines and names I made up, but that was the kind of transition he did, and Patterson's pretty famous :) Now whether that makes "good writing" - I don't know - but it worked in the book he was writing, esp because it was aimed for younger audiences.

    For a dream - since it is a dream, you could just say how your MC is shocked when he watched his girlfriend transform into his father. It's a dream - it doesn't have to make sense in terms of what happens in it, as long as you make it clear that it's 1) a dream and 2) what's happening within it.

    And now if you're taking real scene changes, then I separate it with # in a new line, centralised, and start a new paragraph immediately below. But as for how to sort of move your characters from A to B to show time lapse without cutting it into 2 scenes, some simple lines like "When the bell rang, Ben bolted out of the classroom. In the cafeteria..."

    ^the bell ringing shows time has gone by, bolting out of the classroom shows how much he wanted to get out of there, and 'in the cafeteria' shows that it's lunch time.

    I guess maybe an even better sentence might be: "As soon as class was over, Ben bolted for the cafeteria..."
     
  9. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I highly recommend you read up on the "scene and sequel" technique, it sounds like what you need to work on are you sequels.

    The difference is that in the scene, you are basically exploring the goal - conflict - disaster of the protagonist of that scene. In the sequel, you are showing character's emotional reaction to what just happened, them thinking about it, analysing etc, and finally, reaching the decision on what to do next. After that, the character goes into the next scene with a goal and you are back to writing a scene.

    In a fast paced part of the story, you can have two or even three scenes back to back, but at some later point you have to sequel each scene (show emotional reaction, thinking and decision) or the scene will feel incomplete to the reader.

    Scene and sequel is also excellent to use when you are breaking the chapter, and changing POV character. If you break after the disaster (end of scene) at a later point, when you come back to that character POV, you just start it with a sequel to the scene where you left him off. It works beautifully and readers immediately connect.

    Keep in mind that sequels can be 50 words or 5,000 words, as short or as long as you need them to be, they are the introspective, character-revealing parts of your story and are as important as the scenes.
     

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