1. SuperVenom
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    SuperVenom Contributing Member

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    While they are away....

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by SuperVenom, Aug 24, 2013.

    This has always confused me, i suppose it address slightly head hopping and scene change.

    In a story written in 3rd person, if the MC or at least Character whose has the main focus of the scene leaves the scene (like: go indoors or outside to get air) leaving other characters to chat (to further the plot), would it constitute a scene change even if the "background" scene is the same?

    Example: 3 people are talking outside in a field next to a tent Adam (MC and focus) John and Malcolm (awesome name i know). Adam feeling tired goes inside the tent leaving John and Malcolm to talk (behind his back). Even though they are still in the field would this be classed as a scene change or would this be a time where changing the focus to one of the others.
     
  2. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    This is just off the top of my head here, and I have no way of knowing exactly how this story is pitched, but I'd say that's a scene change. If the scene is written in Third Person limited, meaning we saw the previous part of the scene through Adam's eyes, then the switch means it's a new scene, unless he's overhearing the conversation and we're still filtering it through his eyes (and ears.)

    I suppose if you were writing this from a totally uninvolved 3rd person perspective, it wouldn't really matter, but that kind of perspective is distancing for the reader.

    If it were me writing this scene, I'd split it into two. Let Adam go into the tent. Then switch the POV to the second-most-important character (John OR Malcolm) and carry on from there.
     
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  3. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    You can't continue the scene if the POV character leaves without changing POV to someone else. And POV changes within scenes don't tend to work very well.
     
  4. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Depending on the importance and length of the ensuing conversation, you should at least make it a scene change (to alert the reader to the change in POV) or possibly a chapter change.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it's an optional styling issue... up to the discretion of the writer, not a 'must' one way or the other...

    simply having one character leave the others doesn't mean you have to have a line or chapter break for the remaining characters to continue their conversation/actions in the same location, or to even move away, since the focus of the narrative is still on them...

    however, if when one leaves the group, you then follow his actions in the narrative, that would be a scene change...
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If your POV character leaves in the middle of the scene, perhaps you should re-examine your choice of POV for the scene. If your novel isn't routinely changing POVs, then you might want to consider other ways for your POV character (and your reader), to discover what took place after the POV character left the scene.

    Never leave a dangling POV. The reader should always have a clear sense of whose POV it is, even if it's a mysteriously anonymous viewpoint. an unbound POV leaves the reader adrift and unfocused.

    One of the more common sins of a new writer is the POV that becomes unstuck. Not transferred, just suddenly ambiguous or contradictory, even if no one has actually left the scene. For example, a character is observing her surroundings, and then the narration jumps to something she can't plausibly perceive.
     
  7. SuperVenom
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    SuperVenom Contributing Member

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    Cheers, this has all given me some great tips. To elaborate. The story is a buddy story of 2, Adam and John. Adam has main focus with John the secondary. The focus change is to help develop the sub plot concerning Malcolm. This runs parallel to Adam's but he is unaware of the developments, john on the other hand steps into the sub plot to get it moving. So the two characters need to have, all be it for now, a small almost seemingly insignificant conversation without Adams knowledge. I for now flipped to Johns POV, but got concerned whether this was acceptable. As the setting stays the same but the scene takes a different direction.
     
  8. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    It depends how smoothly it is executed. I had someone read my novel recently (which included a POV change for only one paragraph), and this person is on this forum. They said it worked in the context. If it is not jarring, it's simply a stylistic choice.
     

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