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Alley

Orientation question

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I have a question for you guys. I'm fiddling with a story that has two plotlines that will eventually weave together into the climax. The start of the story takes place in two different locations, and I have been switching back and forth at chapter breaks. I want to make sure the reader is oriented quickly to where this chapter is taking place. I'm not sure if I should start the chapter with the first line containing one of the main characters from that section, or if it would be better to have a location at the beginning of the chapter. Something like Chapter 8, Castle Rock... Chapter 9, Riverside Park. What do all of you think? 

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In Demons I did as your example to help the reader for similar.reasons. 

 

You may not need to do it for every chapter if they follow one another with the same POV and time or location. Best try it out and see.

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The story All the Light We Cannot See does something similar, except that the the author has two or three POVs, and essentially two time lines: 1934 to 1944 and then a few days in April, 1944. He swapped between the time lines at chapter breaks, and included the date/year to keep the reader orientated. POV switches happened in chapter, and he made sure that he grounded the reader quickly as to who and where by using something specific to the character, something specific to the place, the name of the character, etc. 

 

Having said all that, I have read many books where the location is listed at the start of the chapter (like your examples), more in action and thrillers than other genres. 

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2 hours ago, Alley said:

I'm not sure if I should start the chapter with the first line containing one of the main characters from that section, or if it would be better to have a location at the beginning of the chapter. Something like Chapter 8, Castle Rock... Chapter 9, Riverside Park. What do all of you think? 

It depends on how you like to write. I tend to naturally feel like I have to orient the reader at the beginning of a scene, so I don't label places (at least so far - I have a story in the pipeline I where I may have to do it). 

 

So, I guess that tells you a lot. Sometimes I think you just have to because of the amount of stuff going on. It can also be a stylistic thing as @Claire Tucker mentioned. I don't think either way is wrong. 

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4 hours ago, Alley said:

I'm not sure if I should start the chapter with the first line containing one of the main characters from that section, or if it would be better to have a location at the beginning of the chapter.

 

That's an interesting question.  Preferentially, I would think you would begin with one of the main characters from that section, I'd think.  Unless, taking the other side, you're very careful to identify where the location is, but even then I'd think there could be some confusion.

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10 minutes ago, suspensewriter said:

Preferentially, I would think you would begin with one of the main characters from that section, I'd think. 

🤔 I also considered just placing the name. Bob...  George... Winklesten... Pickles... Heffalumps and woozles... Wait, that was Winnie the Pooh. 

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On 1/11/2020 at 11:48 AM, Alley said:

Something like Chapter 8, Castle Rock... Chapter 9, Riverside Park. What do all of you think? 

I think the change should be in the text itself, because some readers (like me) don't pay attention to chapter headings.

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4 minutes ago, carolinamtne said:

I think the change should be in the text itself, because some readers (like me) don't pay attention to chapter headings.

Would you read it if it read like this...

 

Chapter 9 

 

Castle Rock...

Someone had gotten into Dumbo's water, and now the pick elephants are dancing on the ceiling. 

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You know... I've clearly been making too many weird jokes when no one even mentions pink elephants dancing on the ceiling. 😋 

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Just now, suspensewriter said:

Well....

🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

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7 minutes ago, carolinamtne said:

Pink elephants???

 

On 1/14/2020 at 9:04 AM, Alley said:

Chapter 9 

 

Castle Rock...

Someone had gotten into Dumbo's water, and now the pick elephants are dancing on the ceiling. 

 

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Castle Rock ME is supposed to be in the foothills of the White Mountains between Norway and Mexico. It's a mill town whose manufacturing economy has gone south.

 

It's such a good town name and translates easily into other languages.

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