folks were chatting about what a scene is and what a chapter is and how we change POV invisibly.
I made comment, and it's all written out neatly, so now I'm dragging it back to the blog to enjoy.
Starting out small and basic --
A scene is a sequence of continuous action. It's a cohesive section of writing that occurs in one consecutive period of time. Probably follows the same POV character. May have the same setting.
A scene break happens when a chapter has two or more scenes in it. The end of one scene and the start of the next is the scene break. This is marked with a hiatus.
You see this all the time without much noticing.
Jenny puts the gun down and crosses the room to drag the body to some more convenient spot.
In the kitchen, Helen eats raisins and talks to the cook.
A hiatus is represented in a printed book by an extra empty line.There's a little space.
Except when a hiatus in a print book falls at the bottom of the page.
In that case, the book designer will put a pretty symbol there ~ ~ ~ or ♛^♛ or whatever to show us there is a hiatus.
A hiatus is traditionally represented in the manuscript by a # centered on a line with empty lines above and below. But a hiatus can be represented by any convention the author chooses, so long as this is all clear to the editor and copyeditor. The author can use asterixes or a note in brackets or a piece of chewing gun.
In the print book process, the copyeditor is going to get hold of that manuscript and will change whatever the author uses to mark her hiatuses with the conventional centered # mark before the manuscript goes to the book designer and onward to the printer.
An e-book probably won't use a couple empty lines to show a hiatus because this is too easy to lose in the various formats. So e-books will use something pretty to mark every hiatus. ≈^≈ ⚔⚔⚔ or ♛♛♛ or ****.
Now, Let's say you want to change POV.
A) You can change POV and stay in the same scene by using a hiatus.
You go writing along. You want to flip to a different point of View.
This is simple and clear. The downside is, it may cause a break in the action.
(You can click on any of these images to get a larger view.)
B) You can change POV by using a chapter break.
In this use of a chapter break you stay in the same scene with no time lapse, but now you are in a different head.
This is another easy and clear on the POV front, but the feeling of interrupted action may be larger than with a hiatus.
I want to note that you can stay in the same scene and in the same POV and still lob in a chapter break.
The Chapter Break used in the middle of a scene may signal some change of mood or action or location or you may simply have gotten sick of the scene and want to do something -- anything -- to add excitement. A Chapter Break is less troublesome than shooting a minor character which is another alternative.
When I do my own changing POVs I'm as likely to reach for a chapter break as a hiatus. But when I use two POVs in a scene it's likely to be a very long scene and well worthy of an interruption.
C) You can also change POV in the middle of a scene without starting a new chapter and without inserting a hiatus.
This is so exciting.
You change POV right in the scene itself with everybody watching.
It's like putting on a bathing suit under your clothes when you're sitting in your car and anyone might walk by.
You want to avoid showing the indelicate bits.
Or, in this case, you want to avoid knocking the reader over the head with the face you are doing technical stuff to vhange scenes.
This is the Hand-Off method which is one of several ways to do it.
You hand the POV from one character to the other.
Your goal is to avoid disrupting the scene and breaking the reader's fictive haze as much.
But it's really technically difficult to do this POV change inside a scene.
I've done this maybe twice.
Okay. The stages of the hand-off ares:
1) -- we are in POV One.
2) -- we make POV One shallow.
3) -- we slide into narration that is without obvious POV for maybe 50 words. We pick a word or an image out of the narration.
4) -- we pick up POV Two. It contains one of the words or images from the narration.
5) -- we enter POV Two at some depth so the reader 'sees' at once that we're in POV Two.
To make this transition, it helps if POV One and POV Two are in different paragraphs. The separating narrative is happy in its own paragraph as well.
So, for example:
She thought, I want this. I want only this.
Desire washed across her like a warm sea. Resistless, she let him lay her back on the stone. Magic entered the threads of her sinews, the pulse of her blood. The domed ceiling of the crypt gathered shadows into the tracery of its design. The candles on every side wavered with the drumbeat. Dark and light wove across sweating shoulders, legs, the smooth muscles of a powerful arm, the taut plain of a belly. The chant deepened as it filled the huge space.
Etari found himself moving his lips with the words of the chant, "Gaudé, gaudé, Pirri tem. Piri tem."
What's happening here is (the numbers ref the stages above):
(1) She thought, I want this. I want only this.
(2) Desire washed across her like a warm sea. Resistless, she let him lay her back on the stone. Magic entered the threads of her sinews, the pulse of her blood.
(3) The domed ceiling of the crypt gathered shadows into the tracery of its design. The candles on every side wavered with the drumbeat. Dark and light wove across sweating shoulders, legs, the smooth muscles of a powerful arm, the taut plain of a belly.
(4) The chant deepened as it filled the huge space.
(5) Etari found himself moving his lips with the words of the chant, "Gaudé, gaudé, Pirri tem. Piri tem."