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  1. jenniwrites

    jenniwrites New Member

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    Do you guys have any tips on transitioning scenes

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by jenniwrites, May 14, 2020.

    I am trying to write a novel and I’m having problems transitioning specifically time sequencing

    My first draft draft was all over the place and I had to re-organize it but Now I have scenes which are all over the place. But I feel like if I get them right then they’ll make sense and be good for the story.

    one scene/ chapter that was supposed to be near the ending that’s now in the middle For an example
     
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  2. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    I'm not quite sure what you mean by transitioning scenes or time sequencing. Can you give a specific example of the problem?

    For clarity's sake—this scene you moved from near the end to the middle—is it a flashback now, or does it still fit into the timeline sequentially? I'm trying to understand if you're asking about how to fit a flashback in, or something else.
     
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  3. jenniwrites

    jenniwrites New Member

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    it still fits into the timeline

    However I’m trying to find information On How to elapse time for let’s say one Chapter takes Place a couple of days After the previous one for example

    at this point I’m not talking about flashbacksI’m trying to say how to make a linear story out of the scenes that Seemed better rearranged
     
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  4. Kallisto

    Kallisto Ruler of the world... somewhere... Contributor

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    A couple tips and tricks you can use.

    One of the most obvious is beginning each new scene with just a new chapter. Is this always effective? No. But it is something that works enough times to consider it for at least some of your scenes.

    Also, as much as it pains me to say, some scenes are just not meant to be. No matter where you put them, you can't smoothly transition them. They maybe interesting individually, but in context to the story, they don't work. So a bit of honesty and reflection on what your end goal of your story and its message should be taken into consideration.
     
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  5. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    Ok, now I get it.

    If you want it to seem like some time goes by between 2 scenes, you can write at the end of the earlier one something like 'The next few days were spent waiting', or 'Another week would go by before she got her answer.' or something like that.

    Or you might include it at the beginning of the later scene, like 'After several restless days,'.
     
  6. Justin Attas

    Justin Attas Active Member

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    - Me, Wearing my Writing Video Hat -
    First, I want to thank you for giving me some fuel for my next writing help video! Been looking for some things people struggle with, and somehow I completely overlooked transitions.

    -Also Me, Now Wearing My Regular Writing Hat -
    One way you can transition between scenes is what I just did above, for an example's sake. This only works if your book has alternating perspectives between characters. I always recommend doing it at least a few times, just to show the plot from someone else's point of view. Unless, of course, it's important to your central theme that everything is shown through the protagonist's eyes.

    Anyway, switch character perspectives! It's a great way to transition between scenes, if you can do it. Have one person contemplate the actions of another. It lends itself very well to moving things ahead, as well as showing the other side of the story. End one section or chapter on a cliffhanger (I.E. a character making a big decision) and start the next with someone else who just saw/heard about that decision being made. Show how it changes things, which acts as a great transition into what happens next.
     
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  7. A.M.P.

    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Contributor

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    I once heard something wild on this forum: have your character black out for every transition.
     
  8. Steve Rivers

    Steve Rivers Contributor Contributor

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    There's also great ways you can transition scenes and chapters that provoke very conscious thoughts in your reader.

    For an example, in my book I have a character who finishes off a scene pointing out that she finds space a boring subject, nothing more than a black void, to highlight her pragmatic character. She literally uses the words "monotonous black void."

    So, with the next scene starting off with a new character who sees space very differently, I have him standing in a nearly pitch-black room (black void) and hears the repetitive hum of the ship (monotonous) and then has a cargo bay door opening to space, in which he sees the vast, colourful beauty of Mars beneath his feet, and he is bathed in its colors. It instantly tells the reader that these two characters couldn't be more polar opposites and informs you of the other character's personality without me needing to go overboard with characterization.

    Finding fun ways to transition between scenes and chapters like that can be a great reward in itself sometimes, especially when the idea of it just naturally pops up. It obviously doesn't have to be visual like that, you can do it in other ways using characterization or dialogue. But it's a good thing to keep in mind and help you transition.
     
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  9. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    So very Cinematic of you! I can see it in the movie version already.
     
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  10. peachalulu

    peachalulu Member Reviewer Contributor

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    1. Make reference of the upcoming event - I.e. Robert mentions that in a few days he will be arriving in Hawaii for the latest surf contest in Chapter 4 and Chapter 5 begins with pilot announcing they will be touching down in Hawaii shortly and Robert fastens his seat belt.
    2. or state it directly in prose - A few days later Robert hopped a plane to Hawaii for the surf contest.

    I find the best way is to leave a lingering question in the readers mind from the previous chapter that is addressed in the next. It also offers, at times, the cleanest cut - cause it's like Robert going to Hawaii if I don't transition I might drag on and on showing him packing, saying goodbye to friends, snoozing on the plane, landing - a lot of boring junk I probably don't need.
     
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  11. Rzero

    Rzero Reluctant voice of his generation Contributor

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    This is what I would do any time it fits. Never underestimate the easiest answer. Look at how often in books you read the words "a few days later..." or "the following spring..."
     
  12. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    The rule I always apply when transitioning between scenes or chapters is this: clarify. I make sure the reader knows, first of all, who the POV character is (if it changes within the story), a hint of how much time has elapsed since the last time we had this POV character, and some indication of where the new scene/chapter is taking place.

    It doesn't have to be elaborate. If the scenes are presented chronologically by the same POV character, the task will be a lot easier. And if the action flows directly from the previous scene or chapter, it's even easier.

    For example, my POV character, Jeremy, ends the previous scene by rushing down a corridor, easing open the door to a banqueting hall, where a large party is underway, and slinking inside. The next scene begins with: Even though he was late, nobody seemed to notice Jeremy's arrival. He slid into the first empty chair he came to, and unfolded his napkin, trying to remain inconspicuous and calm.

    This transition is smooth, because the two scenes are directly linked. During the first scene we've seen what made Jeremy late for the party; the second will show what happens when he arrives at the party.

    If, however, Jeremy ends the previous scene by opening the door to a banqueting hall, but the NEXT scene is presented from a different person's POV—or happens a couple of days later at another location—a little more needs to be done.

    Karen glanced across the table, then ducked her head, trying to conceal her fury, as Jeremy slunk into an empty seat, and snatched his napkin. Late AGAIN. What's his excuse this time?

    Or:

    Two days after the banquet, Jeremy was still unable to appease his wife. Karen ragged at him every time he crossed her radar. He'd been late again, embarrassed her again, yadda yadda yadda. Jeremy was fed up squeaking 'sorry, sorry, sorry,' and cringing his way around the house, trying to get back into her good books. Shit, it was only a dinner party—and he'd got there in time for the second course, hadn't he. Everybody else had gone away happy and well-fed. Nobody else cared that he'd been late.

    By now—after two days of apologizing—he no longer cared either. Enough is enough. She needs to get a life.

    I'd say just try to ensure your reader can follow the progression of your story without having to work too hard at it.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2020

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