1. Jud
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    Jud Member

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    Fluid scene/time transitions

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Jud, May 28, 2012.

    The transition from one scene to another, or the return to a scene after an interjection of exposition always seems so natural when I'm reading a novel, but when it comes to writing I often struggle.

    I have an example from my latest project where I describe my character taking his form to the jobcentre (welfare office) After this he will call at the sandwich shop for a bite to eat. But in between these two scenes he explains to the reader how, twelve months earlier, he'd been working in a factory and living a fairly comfortable life. After this short section of background information I'd like to take the reader back into the action (as he calls at the sandwich shop) but the way I have it is horribly clumsy and maybe even confusing to the reader.

    I know this is a tough one to try and address, and maybe it's an area that will only improve with practice, but I do find it stumps me very often.

    Any advice, tips very much appreciated.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It seems your problem is in going to a "history lesson" at all. I'd recommend staying in the present. Go from the job centre to the sandwich shop, (where he runs into a friend?), and have his job history come out in interviews or phone screenings with tje prospective employers later.

    I'm assuming the visit to the sandwich shop accomplishes more than letting him fill his stomach, or else it's probably a disposable scene anyway.

    The important point is that there is really no need to break out of the story to explain his prior job history. There is plenty of opportunity folr that to come out in the actual job seeking process. He could even have to answer questions about his job history at the job centre.
     
  3. Jud
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    Jud Member

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    Thanks, Cogito. That makes perfect sense. Sometimes when writing I can't see the woods for the trees (do you have that saying in the US?).

    I don't know why I felt the background stuff had to come there - I suppose it just seemed natural given that he was discovering how skint he was, but as you say I don't have to go into it at that point.

    As for the sandwich shop scene - it's funny you should ask. I'm aiming for the quirky, heavy detail on mundane activities as opposed to a tight and complex plot structure. In other words, I didn't have much more planned for him than filling his belly.
     

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