(Hayden, ID USA)

I'm approaching the writing of my novel from a very 'visual' aspect. As I write I imagine watching the scene appear as if on a screen. My novel has two stories running concurrently - one in the present, the other in the past.

That being said, in any given chapter where I want to 'switch cameras' - changing from one scene to another, I am presently using a line space to do so.

I have a niggling feeling this is the wrong procedure and hope you may be able to help me out of this hole which I am digging deeper for myself.


Moments later he observed the ladder being raised, wobbled about, then lowered until it disappeared altogether. He glanced at his watch. I’ll give ‘em twenty minutes. If they don’t reappear I guess I’d better go check things out.

Number One took cover behind the massive trunk of an ancient oak and raised a fist to signal his men to halt. Seconds later he waved them forward till all three men were hunched down behind the tree.

Thank you


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Aug 12, 2011
by: GREG

Thanks Emily, I'm already using those "little stars" (asterisks) to separate scenes within a chapter.

And thanks Audrey, for your tips. Seems I'm pretty much on track with your suggestions. All except using italics to differentiate sections, or the double column effect (which I'm not too keen on anyway).

This is a great site for assistance. Thanks again.

Aug 12, 2011
Switching times
by: Audrey

You do need to do something visually to help the reader understand the switch. I would be inclined to put one story in italics. I would also be wary of switching paragraph by paragraph. That's a lot of switching for a reader to cope with. Of course I haven't seen your text, so I don't know how difficult the switches actually are. It's just something to be aware of.

There might be other ideas that would work, like using two columns on the pages, one for each timeline.

I might be inclined to write in larger chunks, like whole chapters where titles or some system of giving the date, time, and maybe place, would alert the reader.

Try these, and any other systems you might thing of, to see what seems to work best in your situation.

One thing is for sure, a line break is not likely to be enough. These days, a line break often simply means a new paragraph, and that's not enough to tell the reader to leap back into time.

Aug 12, 2011
Little stars!
by: Emily J

When you start a new point of view or time you do three of the little start things on the next line. ... It's got a proper name but yeah... The little star things

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