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When to split

Discussion in 'The Authors' Café' started by Sidewinder, Mar 25, 2012.

  1. Sidewinder

    Sidewinder Ours is the Fury

    Hopefully this is the right place for this thread

    I'm in the process of writing Chapter five of my fic and I wanted some input on when is the best time to split one chapter into different parts.

    My plan for chapter five is to split it into two parts, Each part will tell the same sequence of events from the perspective of different Pokemon, and two humans. Each split part of the chapter tells the same thing, but they are slightly different because each perspective notices more, or less, or different things entirely.

    I suppose my question is, when is it the right time to split a chapter into two parts, and if you do, what rules are there for splitting them and what should you be aware of?
     
  2. Slipomatic

    Slipomatic Eon Collector

    Although I don't have much experience from splitting chapters into separate parts, I believe that it is simply easier to not have the split. I find stories that use split point of views to get easily trapped in writing essentially the same chapter with very little differences in the views. I recommend staying with one view and only splitting if it's absolutely neccessary to understand the story better. It is also easier on the readers as splitting the chapters that tell almost the same thing can get them confused. If you must have it, I would recommend writing the fic from both views. In other words, the story is written twice, but from two different views and in a sense, two different, but the same story.

    I normally switch point of views if said person was unconcious or circumstances render main point of view unable to tell the story (that is if this is a 1st person point of view.) If told in third person perspective, then you can essentially write it all in one part. You'd just have to make it clear when you're changing the point of view to let the readers know that the view was changed. I honestly don't recommend it as it could lead to a potential loss of readers, but the decision is up to you. If it's really important, then do it, if not, it's a risk that you'll have to decide on.
     
  3. Kutie Pie

    Kutie Pie "It is my destiny."

    Oh-hohohoho, splitting of chapters! It can either save a chapter, or you lose vital information.

    But of course, it depends on what you mean by "splitting a chapter". Are you talking about splitting it into two chapters at a single spot, or keep it as one chapter, but transitioning to a different location?

    Let's start with the first half of the question, splitting it into two chapters.

    I had to make that decision a good few times with my own story, and for the most part, I split the chapter in two, which did work to its advantage. It takes the right timing and judgment to know where to make that split.

    A personal, more recent example: chapter nineteen. It actually would've been much longer than it already is. It is the beginning of the climax, and the climax, as we all know, is the best part of a story. That is when the issues all come together into a final battle to determine the fate of the future. The first half of chapter nineteen is more of an emotional moment to give us that feeling this may be the last time all of these characters will be together (mainly the two main characters). The last half, while emotional in itself, marks the beginning of the climax. Well, while writing it, I got stuck. The reason was because I was writing way too much at once. And because I hate to keep my readers waiting, I went ahead to cut the chapter where needed, and move on from there.

    Of course, this bumps up my expected number of chapters from twenty to twenty-one, not that there's anything bad about it, I just pushed myself a little further about it.

    So that decision helped me move along, even though I am still struggling with this chapter (as you can probably see). And it was for the best, I have this unshakable feeling chapter twenty is going to be extremely big, I'm technically, like, 15% done (probably, I'm not good at math), and I'm at thirty-odd pages already. My longest chapter is almost 50 pages, but this one is going to be twice as long, if not more. So in a way, I'm very grateful I made that split so that way I can have one chapter dedicated to the climax all to itself.

    Now back to you.

    Hmm... should you do that? Would your readers want to read two chapters with virtually the same information? This is going to be in two different perspectives, one in a Pokémon's perspective, and the other with the humans. Were they together at all during this? This is the most important question when it comes to this issue. If the two different species were together in most of the story, or at least in some parts, then this is where the writing is going to get difficult. Yes, you're writing two very different thoughts and emotions, but the concept is going to be the same.

    This is where the second question comes in: transitioning to a different location.

    In chapter twenty, the entire setting takes place in one location (or landmark if you want to get technical), but in different levels with different characters each time. It's similar to an earlier chapter I did where there were different characters in different locations tackling different issues. If this is what you're doing with this chapter, then detail on their thoughts, emotions, and actions is crucial. I know nothing about your story, whether it's in third-person, or in first-person view, but either way, you need to be extremely careful how you write this chapter.

    There's nothing wrong with doing this, every story does it at some point or another. It's just how you handle it. You need to have a good perspective of your story, and by "good perspective", I mean rounding it into some form of three-dimensional world. Showing two different sides of the issue works in that field. However, you really cannot have a rewrite of a similar scene right beside it without a good reason. I can't speak for others like I can speak for myself, but the chances are very high your readers will think you posted the same information twice in the same post, and may got confused, or frustrated at the feeling of been gypped. So this is where cautious editing takes place.

    As I tend to go everywhere at once when it comes to an interesting topic and lose my train of thoughts (and when I'm running out of time), does this all make sense to you? Did I answer your question? I hope I did. If not, don't be afraid to be confused and ask more questions. I'm sure I missed some information somewhere.

    Otherwise, happy writing!
     
  4. Sidewinder

    Sidewinder Ours is the Fury

    @ Slipomatic

    That was actually why I was splitting it. What you said makes sense. Nice insight, and thanks for the advice.

    @ Kutie Pie

    I was thinking of keeping it as one chapter, but instead of transitioning into a different location, I wanted to show the same situation from a different viewpoint.

    That is exactly what I'm struggling with. Each part tells a different perspective of the same event. And while there are a few differences in what the characters see and notice, it's pretty much the same. I feel like I'm answering my own question lol. My main issue is that even though its happening from different perspectives, I don't want it to be so similar that it gets stale, and my readers get bored with it because they think its the same thing happening all over again.

    Yes, you did. I'm sorry for not having a more lengthy reson of how you did, but what you said made alot of sense. I was trying to show how differently my characters view the world by retelling the same event different ways, but looking back, you can easily see that they are different. Not only that, I feel like just continuing the chapters as I have been will flow easier by not breaking it up into segments. Just breaking the chapter off where it feels right to me, like I've been doing, has worked out well so far so I think I'll stick to that. You actually helped me out more than I am able to tell you. I really appreciate you taking the time to post. Thanks!

    And btw, my fic is third-person. Sometimes I like to split the narration from speaking about one character, to a companion character in the same chapter. With the story continuing on, but continuing on from the happenings of another character. Have either of you had experience with this...(If I explained that correctly)...and if so, what guidelines should I follow by doing so?
     
  5. Dragonfree

    Dragonfree Just me

    If they really are mostly the same, I don't think writing it out in full two whole times is the best way to handle it. If I were you I'd figure out which side is more important to the wider narrative, and then have the other side mention the important/interesting parts of what they perceived differently in dialogue or internal monologue in subsequent parts. The full story from the other POV could be posted as an extra or something, but if it really is mostly redundant, you should be making every effort to eliminate as much of the redundancy as possible for the story as you write it.

    End a character's POV at a good breakpoint, either at the end of a scene or, if you must split in the middle of a conversation or something of the like, just after some kind of heavy part of it, so that the break occurs in the "breathing space" that follows. Have a scene break where the POV shifts, and after the scene break, make sure to quickly and clearly convey i) who the new POV character is and ii) that there is no timeskip or location change. The easiest way to do this tends to be to mention the new POV character's name early in the first paragraph in a context where it's obvious they're the POV character, and to reference something that just happened before the scene break in a manner that implies it just happened. So, for instance, "Joe watched Tom storm out of the room with a dumbfounded incredulity, wondering what the heck that was about" clearly implies that Joe is the POV character now (because we're seeing his thoughts and feelings on what's going on), and if the previous scene ended with Tom angrily leaving the room, it's pretty obvious they're referring to the same event.

    It's not always necessary to directly reference something that just happened, since it's often fairly obvious from the context - if the same two characters are talking about the same thing in two consecutive scenes, for instance, the default assumption is probably going to be that it's the same conversation. Just apply some common sense and don't treat the reader like an idiot.

    And of course, as with nearly everything in writing, there are exceptions, such as where you want the POV character to be ambiguous.
     
  6. Sidewinder

    Sidewinder Ours is the Fury

    That's what I was thinking, and makes alot of sense. Like after one character makes a particuarly long speech, or something along that line?

    That actually helps me out alot as I look over chapters that I've written, and have not posted. Thankyou

    Right. My situation pretty much runs exactly along the lines you jut described. That's exactly what I wanted to know. Thnks!
     

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