There are many steps one must take when planning a writing project. Coming up with a killer title and a compelling plot and interesting characters is just the first stage.
The second stage explaining how you will depict the plot you have come up with. Each scene has its own duty to perform, as each one needs to fit together with the others to create a fully realized story.
But before you decide what each scene should accomplish, you may want to look at different structural designs that you can use when writing your scenes.
- Straight Chronological: the most common methods involves only one pointed you from start to finish
- Regularly Recurring Viewpoint: two or more characters whose scenes share the spotlight
- Multi-viewpoint Chronological: different parts covering different periods of time
- Parallel Scenes: two simultaneous stories that alternate
Writing Straight Chronological Scenes
This method of presenting your plot is one of the easiest to follow because it on;y shows one Point of View. You start at the beginning of the story and show how each major event occurs in the order in which it happened to the characters or in the way that your main character found out about the events.
The only instances you show something that has happened in the past is during brief flashbacks.
- the most clear presentation of your plot
- a consistency that is easy for readers to follow
- no large jumps in time or points of view
- only one point of view means you cannot show what is happening to anyone else when your main character is not present
- you must present scenes in order always
Regularly Recurring Viewpoint
This method allows you to show scenes from two or more Point-of-View characters. Usually, the characters are heard from in the same order, to keep readers clear on what is happening.
- this method is clear and consistent the same way that straight chronological is
- it also creates a sense of anticipation when reading scenes for one character’s point of view but want to know what is happening with the other character
- switching between the two characters may seem somewhat mechanical to readers
- sometimes it is difficult to keep the pattern consistent when there is more information that you need to show from a specific character
Parallel Running Scenes
This method is the opportune one to choose if you need to tell two different stories at the same time. It offers the most rhythm and anticipation for your readers.
- allows you to build anticipation easily
- you can include both the past and present, but make sure any chapters about the past are directly related to what is going on in the present
- very fragmented storytelling
- clear and strong ties between the two story lines must be made so you do not risk the story feeling too disjointed
This method allows you to break your novel into clearly distinct parts, with each one covering a specific period of time.
Everything that occurs within that time. can be shown, no matter whom it happens to, or whose eyes the reader views it through. Each chapter focuses only on one point-of-view.
- provides the writer with greater flexibility
- you can compile your scenes in a way that builds tension and withholds information, resulting in greater anticipation from your readers
- there is not as much sense of rhythm or anticipation with this method
- readers may forget important information or become disinterested if you stay in a different character’s point-of-view for too long