July 11th, 2013

MantisYes

Writing Excuses 8.27: Chapter Breakdowns

Writing Excuses 8.27: Chapter Breakdowns

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2013/07/07/writing-excuses-8-27-chapter-breakdowns/

Key Points: How do you intersperse viewpoints and chapters? Consider who is your main character, and where you want the focus to be. One option is chapter by chapter different character POV. Another is chunks, several chapters, from one character's POV, with a beginning, middle, and end. Be aware of the cost of switching POV and chapter breaks. Use chapter breaks as internal cliffhangers, building tension and excitement. Big chunks are involving. Make sure that the character you are jumping to has something at stake, a compelling reason for the reader to want to read about them. Do your outline with events and exposition. Then decide who has the most at stake in each scene. Then look at the switches between POV characters. Sometimes you have to beef up someone's motivation. Some people write chronologically, some write viewpoints and then interweave. Chapters are for pacing, add them as you go. Often a scene is a chapter.  For short stories, scene breaks are like chapter breaks, except more expensive.
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[Brandon] All right. I'm going to give you a writing prompt. I'll give you a writing prompt. I actually want to do a slightly different writing prompt than normal. I want to send you to an outlining writing prompt where I want you to outline a plot arc. Then I want you to break it into some chapters. I want you to do this with two different characters. You're going to write two different plot arcs, and I want you to interweave them and just kind of look at that. Interweaving the chapters and say, "What will this do to my tone? What will this do to my pacing?" Then put them in two big chunks, and say, "What does this do to my story? What does this do to my novel if I were to do it this way?" Just try to imagine, if you can, through your outlining what different advantages you would gain to your plot by trying those two different things. All right? This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
[Pause]
[Howard] Oh. Hang on. Should someone turn on the applause light?
[Applause]
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