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  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Jun 2014
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    Chapter Break Question

    Hey!

    So my MC and her best friend have traveled to a foreign land to attend school. They've arrived, and everything is going smoothly until Ayoith (MC), meets someone that she cannot "read." (She is gifted to pick up on the emotions of others.) Not only can she not get a read on him, but she can't feel him at all, as if he weren't even there. The chapter ends with her freaking out, since she's never encountered anyone who's immune to her. I wouldn't be concerned, but this character is integral to the story, so I can't just brush it off and leave it be.

    The question is this: when I begin the new chapter, would it be better to pick up right where I left off and continue to describe the fallout from her realization, or begin perhaps a little later in the day? As far as suspense and pacing go, I'm lost and have no idea which one would have more of an impact. Any input would be appreciated. Thanks!

  2. #2
    DaBlaRR
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    I asked a similar question a few days ago that might help. See below thread.


    http://www.writers.net/forum/showthr...2-Cliffhangers

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    What happens after the chapter break is determined by the necessities of the scene in progress. From the sound of it you picked a good point for chapter break, in that a plot turning-point has occurred. But the scene is still in progress so it will dictate what's necessary to continue raising the tension that will drive it towards the disaster that will end that scene.

    What I'm getting at is that structurally, the scene will begin with the character in motion, so to speak, with a goal that the reader is aware of. That goal is interrupted, which introduces tension. The protagonist will try to "fix the problem," hoping to get back to doing what they felt was important. But of course that proves impossible because the problem that introduced the tension can't be solved, in spite of continuing effort on the part of the protagonist. This drama is what the reader feeds on. And so long as the drama continues, and builds, the reader will be happy. Obviously, if that continues, it will cross the line into melodrama, so before that happens we end the scene in a way that will cause the next scene to begin with fewer options and greater risk, as we build toward the climax.

    So, does it matter if you continue the action as the new chapter opens, or pick up the action a few hours later? That depends on what's necessary to continue guiding the scene towards its climax and ending. And only you can say what's necessary to continue building tension.

    Remember, we're not informing the reader as to the progression of the plot. We’re trying to make them live it, in real-time.

    If you've not yet read, Dwight Swain's, Techniques of the Selling Writer, or, Jack Bickham’s, Scene and Sequel, doing so would be a wise investment in time, because they address the underlying structure of writing fiction, and what the various elements do for you to make your job easier.

    Hang in there, and keep on writing.

    Jay Greenstein
    Our goal isn't to maker the reader know the protagonist is frightened. It's to terrify the reader.

  4. #4
    Member K.S. Crooks's Avatar
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    I think it depends on the importance of how your MC deals with this revelation. If it is very important I would continue with her in the next chapter. If other things are more important then go with them. It can also depend on how the MC will deal with the situation. Some things can only be done at a later time. Ex. if the MC will see the person again in two days then that is when she will deal with it. Do you skip ahead to two days later or go day by day would be your choice. Hope this helps.
    K.S. Crooks - Dreamer and Author
    http://www.kscrooks.com

  5. #5
    Junior Member
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    Thanks for the input, everyone- I really appreciate it! @DaBlaRR I'll def look into that, since it seems to be similar. And @Jay and @K.S. thanks for the advice. It's def given me a good starting point and much to consider, so hopefully with a little experimentation and a whole bunch of elbow grease I'll get it sorted.

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