1. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Setting and mood to start with or dialogue

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by peachalulu, Feb 10, 2013.

    Going into my second chapter - the setting drastically changes. I also switch from my
    'hero' mc to his sort-of-foe. The beginning of the novel starts with a bit of
    setting and action and then dialogue. Now I'm wondering if I should start with a similiar
    pattern to show the contrast between them or begin with a dialogue.

    Does anyone have a preference especially as a reader - would you rather know where
    you are setting wise?or be plunged into the characters problem via dialogue and then
    the setting?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If the setting has changed, your first order of business is to establish the new setting. Other than that, how you proceed depends on your story and your aims as the author.
     
  3. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I agree with Cogito. I assume you've interested the reader with your first chapter, so you don't have to start the second off with a bang. Let the reader know that the setting has changed and that we're observing different people, then carry on.
     
  4. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    If it's another character you're starting with, all you need to do is to tell who you're talking about, and then start moving through his/her life. I have several chapters where the character switches, or a new one enters the scene. I write it like a play in a way...previous character exit stage left, new one enter stage right and then start showing their world.

    And the setting can change without much difficulty either.
     
  5. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I think by "establish the setting", Cog simply meant make it clear to the reader what has changed in the new chapter - time, place, characters, some or all of the above. It can be done with as few or as many words as you need to get the meaning across to the reader. As Kate said, start moving through his/her life. And giving the reader just what they need to understand.
     
  6. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Thanks everyone! I'm not sure what route I'm going to take but I think I'll go the route that helped me get through the
    first chapter - discover the mood of my character first and work from that. I never realized before that I'm
    unsure about him - as to whether he's anxious, bored, or angry or in a rut - that's a lot of leeway.
     
  7. auntiebetty
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    auntiebetty Active Member

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    Setting or Mood to start with or Dialogue

    I have an answer as a reader and a different one as a writer.

    Reader: If Chapter two is a completely different setting and introduces a new character, then I would start with explaining why the setting change. Do you need a date tag? What do you need to explain to the reader so that R understands the dialogue to follow.

    Writer:
    (1)If you are sure that R understands who the two talkers are, and the shift in setting is minimal. Say from kitchen to the BR, then you might start with the dialogue and introduce the reason for the shift from Breakfast to Bedtime as dialogue.

    (2)If you write it one way and don't like it, write it the other way. If you can't decide on your own which way works best, as a good reader to favor you with a critique of both Chapters in one reading.
     
  8. Fivvle
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    Fivvle Contributing Member

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    I would suggest connecting the two chapters in some way to start it off. Something like, "In the same city, twenty-five miles west...." That's an incredibly boring example, but it's all I can think of at the moment. It also doesn't exactly work for what you described, but I'm sure you understand what I mean. As a reader, I would wonder about the relevance of this new character and setting in relation to the story.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Why is that a bad thing? You want your reader to have questions. Don't lead readers by the nose or treat them like imbeciles. Eventually the connections will become clear.

    Chapters are inherently connected by sequential placement. Only connect scenes, or chapters, if the connection is immediately necessary to the story.
     

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