8. The Seven Deadly Perils of Style

Page 4 of 10 | Derivative Plots | Grammar and Usage | Viewpoint Wobbles | Viewpoint Transitions | Said-bookisms |
| AWAKS and Infodumps | Xblmrph | Out of Character | Bad Science | Taking Liberties |

Viewpoint Transitions

If you want to switch viewpoints from one character to another, the best way to do it is to bring your scene to an end, then start another scene from the second character's point of view. All it takes is a simple line-space break, which lets the reader know that there's going to be a transition.

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So how else might you write such a scene? Try this:
Dennis had been thinking for a long time how to confront Sarah about their disagreement. They had not seen eye to eye on much of anything for the last two weeks. He had agonized over the words to use, the right tone of voice to keep from making her angry again, and most of all how to make her understand that he still cared about her in spite of it all. Even now, as Sarah walked toward him, he rehearsed it in his mind. "Can't we find a way to work this out, Sarah? You're too important to me to let something like this come between us."

Sarah greeted him with a cautious nod.

His carefully rehearsed words went right out of his head, as he blurted, "It wasn't really my fault, you know!"

No sooner had he said it than he thought, You idiot...


Sarah glared at Dennis in disbelief. She had been dreading this meeting, but she'd decided this morning that she ought to give him a chance to apologize. Now, hearing the first words out of his mouth, she was furious. You insensitive lout, she thought . See if I give you another chance...

By providing a clear signal of a transition, you've given the reader a better chance to stay with you, believing in the reality of the scene.


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