1. John Carlo
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    John Carlo Active Member

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    Transitioning help

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by John Carlo, Jun 12, 2012.

    Hi all,

    Just wanted to know if anyone has some good transitioning techniques. And what I mean by that, are those spots in your novel where time passes and things happen, but you don't want to make a scene out of them. I like to minimize exposition, and try not to give a mini-prologue to the next scene, but I inadvertently end up doing just that. Any creative suggestions to go about this? The information is generally important for the next scene to make sense, which is why I feel the need to include it in the first place.
     
  2. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    I usually start the scene late and then leave eairly to close the time laspe. Sometimes that help. However, if you are setting up the story, I would suggest staying on the particular scene and then switching to the next at a reasonable moment. If the scene is relivant to the next scene, such as a doctor's office setting, and then switching to a hospital, we, as readers, will know that time has passed, since those two scenes are relivant to receiving treatment. On the other hand, there are many techiniques you can use to indicate a pass of time, so long as you do it in a logical way.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Introduce something early in the "after" scene that signals the reader that there has been a significant passage of time. It's an approach that can serve for a time lapse of hours, days, months, or years.

    For hours, it can be as simple as rolling out of bed when the previous scene was a late night party. For days, it might be searching the hotel room for shoes, when the previous scene was about planning to take a vacation, or being tempted to grab the big money and run. For months, it could be signs of a change of season. For years, it could be kissing a husband on the way to work when she was unmarried in the pre3vious scene, or a minor crisis with a child where there were no children.

    Other times, you can simply begin with, "The following Monday, Caroline still hadn't..."

    It's best to begin a new chapter for a significant break in time, sometimes even a new part (typically for a gap of months or years). For a short gap, you can use a section break, denoted in manuscript by a single, centered '#' symbol on an otherwise blank line.
     
  4. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    I think the information that you want to pass on with the 'trasitional exposition' can always be distributed in bits and pieces in the next scene. If that is not possible then creating a new scene is way better than a paragraph of exposition between two scenes.
     
  5. joanna
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    joanna Active Member

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    I used to have so much trouble with this. I didn't feel I could make the story make sense if I skipped chunks of it or jumped forward in time.

    The main thing I did to get over it was read to see how other authors handle it. The section breaks work, but I didn't want to use them every time. I discovered that there are many natural segues authors have utilized.

    I like ones that lead into sentences like, "And that is pretty much the way it went for the next two months." "This routine seemed to go on forever, even though really it might have been just three weeks." "Over the years, Sally's dysfunctional pattern of behavior worsened." "The next day's bus ride was even worse, and I didn't stop hating the bus until the day I met insane Mr. Rupert." etc.
     
  6. John Carlo
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    John Carlo Active Member

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    Thank you all for your suggestions. Cogito, I really found this helpful. I've basically been doing "The following Monday" thing, but I get tired of using that. I also do what Joanna talked about in her third paragraph. I just have to be careful to avoid info-dumping. I usually don't do it for more than a paragraph, but it still pisses me off that I resort to that. Gotta mix it up, I guess.
     

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