Why do authors make setting & character shifts and what effects do they have on the book?Why do authors make setting & character shifts and what effects do they have on the book?

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tsjoseph eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Writers might do this to develop their plots, themes, or perspectives.  Perhaps one of the masters of this is William Faulkner, whose novels moved across decades and characters.  Although this certainly makes Faulkner a challenging read, the result is that Faulkner's books have created not just a single story, but a whole tapestry of characters, communities, and times.  As readers, we see how these characters and lives intersect.

Other modernist writers also employed this technique to demonstrate the tenuousness of what we might call "truth."  By manipulating perspectives and settings, modernist writers called into question a linear understanding of the world.  In other words, this technique works to support the larger theme of an unknowable universe.

Of course, this technique is very common, and is used for many reasons.  Another way this is useful is to build suspense.  In thriller, noir, and mystery novels, writers can show the readers what various characters are thinking and planning.  Thus, we as readers are privy to information the heroes are not.  This can add to the suspense as we read.  We think to ourselves, "No, no, no!  Don't open that door!  It's a trap!"

ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Authors write in order to reveal what is it like to be part of the human race. Humans change with time, as do the places and times in which they live. In order to create a believable story, authors change their setting in order to reveal how their characters react to those settings. And, since all humans change, authors also have their characters change in reaction to time, place. events that occurs to them or that they cause to occur. That way they can reveal their beliefs about humanity in a way readers will believe them.
morrol eNotes educator| Certified Educator
This question is easily answered when we consider a little bit about Narrative Theory. Human being think in narrative. We think in story form. So, for an author to make his or her particular story memorable, in order to make it stick out from the the story of how we got our coffee in the morning, or what happened on our way to work, he or she must have conflict and points of change.
firstgradeboys | Student

It's possible that the author feels that in order for the book to have more debt and feeling, he or she creates a character shift.  Having a setting shift also helps the reader to feel he or she is getting more information than from just one point of view.  You see this also many times in movies.  We can see from one characters point of view, however until we see from the other character, we don't truely understand. 

The effect this has on the book, is that it creates an opportunity for the reader to gain a better understanding of what the plot is. 

tokie | Student

You probably need to be a little more specific in you question to get a useful answer.

As a writer, I do this for a variety of reasons.  Other authors probably do this for a variety of OTHER reasons--or some that are the same.

If you mean: why does a specific author change setting, character, POV, etc., etc. in a specific work, that's a much easier question to answer (sometimes).