1. Konxert

    Konxert New Member

    Oct 31, 2014
    Likes Received:

    Request Advice: Constant POV/Setting Shift in a Novel

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Konxert, Oct 31, 2014.

    I am currently adapting a screenplay into novel form and am seeking some advice on how to constantly bounce between two areas and POVs in almost rapid succession.

    A person is being attacked in the real world by their possessed friend, for example. At the exact same time, same location, but in a sort of limbo world, another character is dealing with an entity that has possessed this attacking friend.

    So in screenplay format, it was easy to bounce between this limbo world and the results that occurred in the real world simultaneously due to scene headings. But in a novel, I am struggling with how to format it as to not confuse the reader.

    If the entity is punched, it would lead to an almost immediate result in the real world of the possessed person stumbling backwards. So it'd be almost like a one to one ratio of what happens in one place, immediately should be expressed in the other.

    Anyone have any advice or examples of published works that do something similar?

    On a side note: The limbo world is the same setting but with no color or living people, so technically different in that sense. Also, it will be third person narrative.

    Would page breaks be too jarring? It would lead to so many, so frequently if I want to bounce around that much.

    On the other hand, having no page breaks, would it be hard to follow in theory?
  2. jonahmann

    jonahmann Active Member

    Oct 2, 2014
    Likes Received:
    There was a thread like this recently. Just use paragraph breaks.

    Aldous Huxley does this in Brave New World.
    karmazon likes this.
  3. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

    Aug 27, 2014
    Likes Received:
    "Green Darkness" by Anya Seton uses a similar scenario, but usually several pages in each "space/time continuum", so it's not offputting.

    It seems to me that you have chosen a particularly difficult piece of screenplay to turn into a novel.

    Possibly try to use a sort of split-screen...long intro to establish that Dave is the hero, being attacked by Fred (in this wordl), being possessed by Uzgarl, being interacted with by Abdelar (in the other). Then, you could have:

    "Fred lunged at Dave, but Abdelar caught Uzgarl's knife-hand"

    As long as the reader is clear that it's two separate but inter-related worlds it should work.
  4. karmazon

    karmazon Member

    Dec 25, 2007
    Likes Received:
    Jonahmann is right - paragraph breaks is all you need. "The girl who played with fire" does this a lot and it's quite obvious due to breaks.
  5. Darkkin

    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

    Jun 21, 2012
    Likes Received:
    Following the footprints in the sand...
    As mentioned above, paragraph breaks, but to further distinguish between the two, have the parallel done in iltalics. If it is, indeed, a second dimension there should be a dividing factor.

    I've used the techinque when phasing scenes between real time and past events. It also works with dream sequences, the inference of a character's interaction with various forms of media, (letters, notes, journal, television and the like...), as well as memories, (such as flashbacks).
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2014
  6. !ndigo

    !ndigo Member

    May 26, 2014
    Likes Received:
    This would be my first choice as well, paragraphs with one dimension italicized. If I remember correctly, The Subtle Knife (or maybe The Amber Spyglass?) by Philip Pullman did something similar when jumping between worlds, you could look at that for an example.

Share This Page