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I am writing a short story and I have a scene all visualized in my brain but I am not sure if I am doing a good job at putting it into words.

The scenario is as follows :

A character (the protagonist) is peeping through a gap in the doorframe (door has been left ajar) into a room. Inside this room, they see a creature killing other individuals. After killing all of them, the creature senses the presence of the protagonist and jumps at them, but the protagonist is able to kill it after a bit of struggle.

How I want to write it is:

He leaned against the heavy door, his cheeks resting on its cold, smooth metallic surface and his eyes peeped through the gap in the doorframe.

I want to describe what is happening on the inside / the scene on the inside of this room. How should I do that ? should I just go with "He saw on the inside..." or is there a better to do it?

I am an amateur at writing (still in school) so excuse me for my lack of knowledge of technical terms. So far in the story, I have written everything from the perspective of this character, like the camera stuck to them (I know its a short story but I couldn't find better terms to express what I wanted to say.) Now I want the camera to move into the room and describe the scene on the inside.

I am unable to make the transition properly from the outside of the room to the inside.

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  • Welcome to our site! As it currently reads, your question might be seen by some as asking how to write your scene. Such requests are off-topic, and end up being closed. I therefore strongly recommend you edit your question so that it's clear you're asking for guidance on how to transition from one perspective to the next – i.e. you're seeking advice on how to approach this technical aspect of writing. For further guidance on what's allowable in a question, see How to Ask, and make sure you take our Tour. :-) Commented Jul 15, 2022 at 6:33
  • PS I'd start by turning your question's title into an actual question. For example, "How do I transition from one scene or perspective to another one?" And I'd also get rid of "am not sure if I am doing a good job at putting it into words" as that sounds like an invitation to assess what you've written (which is off-topic here) – perhaps try "am not sure how to manage a particular transition." Commented Jul 15, 2022 at 6:39

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What you're describing as "the camera stuck to them" is one of the fundamental elements of writing, the narrative point of view – commonly abbreviated in writing circles as PoV or POV. In the scene you've described, you've adopted a third-person PoV: "his eyes peeped through the gap".

In some writing pieces, the PoV remains locked on the protagonist throughout the story: the reader only ever learns what the protagonist experiences. There's nothing wrong with this approach but it can be quite limiting for both writer and reader; on the other hand, it can be quite realistic (very much like they're wearing a headcam!).

There's also the subjective/objective axis to the PoV. Is the description purely observational, or does the author reveal what the character is thinking or how they're feeling? Here's how your excerpt might look if you added the subjective element:

He leaned against the heavy door, his cheeks resting on its cold, smooth metallic surface, and his eyes peeped through the gap in the doorframe. His heart skipped a beat: that was Aenid in the creature's jaws. How did Aenid get there before him?

If it was purely the "camera" perspective, the reader couldn't know what the character's heart is doing. And the final sentence is an example of free indirect speech, in which the reader hears the character's thoughts.

Probably the most common third-person narrative is the omniscient PoV, where the reader is given an overarching perspective that's not limited to the one character. This is not only useful for the reader to be able to know things that are hidden from the protagonist, but it also makes it much easier for the writer to describe what's going on. The transition is quite simple to achieve, either by describing the scene from a perspective that the previous character hasn't (at that point) got access to, or by shifting the PoV directly to another character. For example:

He leaned against the heavy door, his cheeks resting on its cold, smooth metallic surface.

Inside the room, the creature effortlessly threw Gopa into the corner, and turned to face Aenid.

[The protagonist] peeped through the gap in the doorframe, just as the creature seized Aenid in its jaws. His heart skipped a beat. How did Aenid get there before him?

You see how the middle paragraph has shifted the "camera" to inside the room? You could do this even if the room was devoid of characters: it's simply the anonymous narrator (the author) describing a location.

A more direct way to change PoV is to view things from another character's perspective. This can be as easy as making the other character the subject of the next paragraph. Here's how such a transition might look:

He leaned against the heavy door, his cheeks resting on its cold, smooth metallic surface, and his eyes peeped through the gap in the doorframe.

Inside the room, the creature effortlessly threw Gopa into the corner, and turned to face Aenid. It could taste Aenid's bravery already, before it had even opened its jaws. Such hopeless defiance. There was the pleasing sound of bones cracking – and another sound, unexpected, from outside the room. The creature swung round, its yellow eyes fixed on the door.

[The protagonist] didn't stop to think. He put his shoulder to the door and pushed with all his weight. It silently, massively, opened. With a roar, he leapt...

Which PoV works best? What's the best way to transition to a different scene or even to a different PoV? There's no definitive answer: you'll have to try different approaches yourself. But the two best pieces of advice I can give are:

  • read as much as you can, but now with a writer's eyes: take note of the craft of the author, be aware of PoV, free indirect speech, transitions, dialogue tags, descriptiveness, etc

  • write as much as you can! Get your first draft written – don't worry too much if it's a bit messy – then go back and edit, then edit again (and again, etc).

Good luck!

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