Monday, April 16, 2012


Just when I thought things would be a breeze from now on, here comes another major change to my second draft.  Although I am fairly happy with the 1. chapter, I am not so thrilled with the fact that chapters 2 & 3 are set in the same location as the seconf half of chapter 1.  In the current draft it is only in chapter 4 that the action takes place in a different setting, and so I shall now try to change the order of those chapters.  Since chapters 2 & 3 consist for the most part of flashbacks and inner monologues, I think they can be placed a little later in the narrative as long as the scheming and plotting contained in them precedes the planned action.  I will attempt, though, to condense the two into a single chapter. 
How about you?  Do you think it is crucial to have the location/setting change from chapter to chapter?


  1. That seems like movie thinking, changing the location to keep the viewer amused and to provide variation and a sense of forward movement. I don't think it pertains to novels unless staying in the same place has a static effect. And we never want to be static.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Sarah. It's quite possible that my thinking was influenced by the way movies are put together. But in addition to this, I also believed to remember that in most of the novels I've read there was such a change from one chapter to the next. So today I looked at some of my favorite novels to see whether I was right. Well, I was not. However, every time the location didn't change, one of two other things changed: either there was a shift in time, with something happening, say, in the evening and the next chapter then continuing the next morning, or some new characters appear on the stage.
      In my situation, the chapter in question ends with my heroine wandering around the neighborhood trying to figure out a difficult problem, and the following chapter has her continuing her walk in the same location, with the only change being that she now contemplates a completely unrelated matter. There is indeed a risk of stasis here. So I am inserting another chapter between the two and have my heroine simply go back to the original location later on (there are certain visual stimuli here that influence her thinking).
      Thanks again for taking the time to post a comment, Sarah. I get far too few of them. :-)

  2. Hi! I agree with Sarah.
    I also think the more important change is what's developing with the character, and how that in turn changes the plot. Maybe the location will change as a result, maybe not.
    Character development can make a location seem new in a very powerful way if the locale is viewed from an mc's new, enlightened perspective or from the breaking down of her previous illusions.
    To change a location purely for the colour of it is like buying a painting purely because it's different to the one already on your wall. You might not explore the beauty and meaning of the new location [to your mc] without true purpose for her being there, and your depiction might come across as a flat backdrop change, which is counter-productive to your initial intention.

    Take your mc to a new place only because there's no other place she's meant to be. The plot absolutely calls for it, as do her goals and predicament. Then the location will be authentic change and an exhilarating experience for the reader.

    The only other thing I would suggest is to check whether there's something else that makes you feel she's in the one location too long. It might be that editing and trimming your prose to speed up the pace in spots is what it needs. For instance, do you have redundant sentences or fillers left over from when you wrote a few sentences to explore what you wanted to say? If so, go back and pick the phrasing that best says it and remove repetitive wording. Or is your character's goals hazy in that section?
    I suggest checking this mainly because your question is an odd one to ask. To me, if the character, plot and pacing has me sucked in, I won't stop to question why she never leaves the house, let alone the city. I know this is general advice as you would definitely have location changes as part of a fantasy or historical fiction adventure, but my point is that they are secondary to having a compelling story, and will not rescue a reader's interest on their own.
    I hope this helps in some way. I recommend reading 'Story' by Robert McKee. It's an excellent writing resource for working through plot and characterisation issues. All the best with your book! :)

  3. One more thing! :) Flashbacks and inner monologues are what slowed my pacing in a story I'm working on. I had a lump of them in one chapter, and the next chapter was action. There was little forward movement in the first section and it was the slowest part of the book and the muddiest to edit. When I trimmed them and spliced them with action, it greatly improved. Something to consider...too much back story or inner reflections can be telling rather than showing, and slow the pace. ~M