Monday, 18 March 2013

Scene Transitions - Advanced polishing

I was fortunate enough to be gifted three fabulous critiques from professional published writers/editors that participated in Evil Auction, a fantastic fundraising event.  Having just received the first critique back, it provided the validation I needed and also great advice in tightening an area I was not confident in -  POV change scene transitions!
It was helpful for me so I thought I would share it with you, and also some of my own tips for stellar scene transitions.  

My tips for writing un-put-downable scene transitions 
1. Never let the reader off the hook
You know you have to hook the reader when you open your story, and you know they need to stay hooked. The beginning AND end of every scene should serve to propel your story, keep it moving, dig the hook, keep those pages turning!
  •  End every scene on something that keeps the reader hanging or emotionally invested. That means not your heroine "drifting peacefully to sleep". Oh, she can be going to sleep but end with a question, a promise of what's coming, something to keep them tuning those pages. Have your heroine drift to sleep, "blissfully ignorant of the horror about to befall her".

2. Always start POV scene transition by showing whose skin we are in BY NAME!
Sounds obvious right? Sometimes we think the reader will realise we have changed POV, or that we have made it obvious enough. Don't assume; make it clear! There are few things quite so jarring to a reader than realising the scene is not in the POV character they thought it was.
  • Identify character by name in the first sentence.
  • If you have referenced the characters at the end of a paragraph rearrange it so it's at the start.

3.Ground your reader in the new scene
Let your reader know immediately where they are.
  • Establish passage of time; even if you have to write "two weeks later she..." etc 
  • Identify place/event

4. Use scene change to switch POV
  •  It is confusing to the reader to have the POV change mid scene; or worse mid-paragraph. Wait until a new scene. The character can always reflect back to show their reaction.

Tip-to-me on POV scene transitions
  • Begin POV scene transitions by having hero/heroine reference what's just happened in the last POV to connect the characters. In romance this becomes a crucial element in showing the hero and heroine reacting to each other. This was not something I was accustomed to doing in scenes that did not directly relate to the previous POV scene.

And those are my tips for scene transitions. Hope you enjoyed. Helpful?

1 comment:

  1. Yes, very helpful, thanks. Number 1 seems obvious but I realise I write scenes which end with some kind of conclusion rather than a hook for the next chapter. I'm going to take your advice.