I think I've written a pretty good chapter one, but now the question is: where do I go from there?

I mean: should I introduce a new POV character? Can I jump ahead in time a little to somewhat after where the first chapter left off? Can I switch to entirely different setting with a new POV character?

I just don't know.

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    Welcome to Writing.SE! If you have a moment please take the tour and visit the help center to learn more about the site. Have fun!
    – Secespitus
    Feb 12 '18 at 22:12
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    This SE is not about asking what to write. Your question is too wide. Focus it by asking one thing Feb 12 '18 at 23:00
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    I'm also not sure this is the best place to get the info you need at this stage of your project, but I hope you do get what you need. Have you looked online? There are some great sites. writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/… We probably can't give you the advice you need, since it is an individual project and we all do things a little differently. But sift through a few websites, blogs, and so on, and do what seems right to you.
    – DPT
    Feb 13 '18 at 1:01

Yes, you can start a chapter with a completely new character/time/setting - as long as you show your reader where and when the story currently is

As always this depends on what you want to achieve. For example there are books that are written solely from a single person's point of view and each chapter is basically a very little jump in the time to the next interesting thing that happened in the main character's life.

Then there are books where you have only one character, but the chapters jump a bit more. For example you could have a couple chapters that are "The next interesting thing" and then a backflash like "5 years before this" to show things from the past.

You could also do bigger jumps. Switching between the seasons or going a few years forward to show the next step in the character's personal evolution.

Then there are books where you have multiple characters. Depending on your style again you could for example choose to switch between two characters in each chapter. Or for example just every fifth chapter is from the second character's point of view.

When having multiple characters you could show the same timeframe from two different points of view. You could say for example "At the same time at the other end of the city". Or they could just overlap a bit, which you could show by describing the same circumstance from their points of view. One might perceive loud sirens as "aweful", whereas the other would describe it as "heavenly music". The moment the second character describes this element your reader would know again what the current timeframe is.

Just remember to make it obvious to the reader what the current time is and which character is the character you are currently following. Maybe through text at the beginning of the chapter describing the current location and time. Or maybe just by letting the characters describe their surroundings and using their normal speech pattern as signatures for who is currently speaking.

The thing is: nobody can tell you what is right. It depends on what you want and what makes sense for your story.

For example you don't want to follow unnecessary characters that are not playing an important role. But how many of the important characters you are following depends on your style. You could utilize the different characters to show flaws in the way they perceive their surroundings, or to focus on different important things in a scenery.

What you should ask yourself is not whether you can do something when writing - you should ask yourself whether it makes sense to do something.

What is the reason for wanting to change the point of view? What is the reason for wanting to jump a little ahead? What is the reason for wanting to switch?

Why is the thing you want to show next important? How does it relate to what has happened so far? How does it relate to what will come in the next chapters? What does it contribute to the overarching plot?


Your title question and description seem to be asking different things.

The title question is very specific, and the answer is yes, it's fine to begin a new chapter from a different POV, in a different time and in a different setting as long as you orient your reader fairly quickly.

The description seems to be asking a much broader question, which is - what do you write next? This makes me wonder if you haven't done any planning for the story, and are just writing as it comes. This is a perfectly reasonable way to write (it even has its own name - you're a pantser - i.e. you write from the seat of your pants), but if you're ending up staring at the screen wondering where to go, it might be worth creating a loose outline of your story.

That way you'll have a basic structure so you know where you're heading, and can avoid writing a lot of scenes that don't end up contributing to the plot.

You can find some ideas for plot outlines here: https://www.novel-software.com/genrestorytemplates (disclosure, this is my site) - they might help you as prompts to get the ideas flowing.

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