Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Location Hopping in Fiction

Remember that variety is the spice of life. By location hopping you enhance reader interest and enjoyment by moving around to different and unexpected locations. Vary the story's settings as much as possible. When planning your novel, think up eight or ten locations for the scenes. Unless your story must be set in a particular locale, the whole world is your playground.

Location hopping also lends a sense of movement to the story.

Keep a scene outline that notes the location, principal character, and action of each scene. See if you can order the scenes so that each takes place in a different location than the previous one. For scenes whose location is optional, choose the location so as to create an interesting mix of locations in hopping about from one scene to another. You needn't location-hop into every scene, but aim for a sequence that usually does so. Just don't forget the purpose is to achieve suspense, not to conform to a rigid structure.

The sense of movement you achieve through location hopping gives you some breathing room. It may allow you to get away with continuing a suspenseful scene in the subsequent chapter.

This job will be much less work if you do it during the planning stage or after your first draft. Reordering scenes later can be a headache, because you will probably have to move parts of scenes and chapters and rewrite parts to stitch them back together properly.

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