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Friday, September 07, 2007

Scene transitions – POV, time, and place

When you start a book or any new scene, you’re setting your reader down in a completely new place, often in a new time, sometimes with a new character. Make your point of view character, time, and place obvious in the first couple paragraphs.

You don’t need long descriptions of the new room the heroine is in, or to tell the reader that we’re now in the hero’s head, or to let the reader know that six months have passed. These things can be conveyed with a well-chosen phrase that immediately triggers a certain picture in the reader’s head.

For example, say the previous scene ended at night in the hero’s POV.

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A girl could choke on the cholesterol in the air.

She stood in the doorway to the diner, cringing beneath the sticky cloud of bacon grease mingled with the perfume of over-cooked eggs and maple syrup.


The reader immediately knows it’s (a) the heroine, (b) a greasy diner, and (c) the next morning.

Go through your manuscript and look at scene openings. Can you add a well-chosen sentence or phrase that will clue the reader into POV, time, and place?

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