Follow Each Chain of Thought to its End

Standard

You can figure out what you ought to do when writing by looking at what other writers do. It’s harder to figure out what you shouldn’t do, if the writers you read don’t do it. 

Describing a scene from third person limited point of view is following one character’s thought process. The description can end before getting around to everything in the scene, but it may end only at points where a person’s thought process would switch to something else. No one would observe all the little things in this scene, and then trail off on reaching the important thing in the seen, as if that were the least interesting thing there.

You can not end the description on something that no one would end a thought on. Long descriptions should either break when they are interrupted by a story event, or else trickle off when they reach a point where a person’s attention might turn to something else, as opposed to ending when the writer has mentioned everything on their checklist.

Summary: When you’re in a character’s POV, only stop narrating when that character would stop looking or thinking.

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