1. Naomasa298

    Naomasa298 Member Supporter

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    Getting the characters to where they need to be

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Naomasa298, Sep 11, 2019.

    I have real trouble with this. I ran up against a total block. I had just finished one scene and had a great idea for the next scene - unfortunately, it called for the characters to be at a different location. I struggled on how to get the characters from A to B in way that was interesting to the reader.

    I didn't want to write "And they left A, travelled for a month and got to B" (well, not quite but you know what I mean) but I didn't have any plot elements to add to the journey. I don't think every journey the characters undertake has to contain plot. Sometimes they just need to get there. This was a fantasy setting so they couldn't just hop on a plane (or a boat, in this case).

    I'm fine writing scenes in one location, but this really stumps me. Any suggestions would be welcome.
     
  2. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Top of the buzzing to you. :) Supporter Contributor

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    You can just have them be at their next destination at the start of the next chapter.
    It will cut out the travel bits, and the reader will understand and accept it so long
    as it transitions from the last chapter, without feeling like they just teleported. :)

    (Got on a boat. Next chapter-Stepping onto the docks of destination some time later).
     
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  3. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I don't see anything wrong with just stating time has gone by and the location has changed. You can get a little creative with this.

    A month later, they were in (new place), but the same problems were with them.

    or

    Everything had changed when they reached (new place) a month later.

    or

    A month-long uneventful joinery landed them in (new place) where everything changed quickly. Or where nothing seemed to have changed.

    You get the idea. I would probably put in an extra line space before making this kind of transition, but that could depend on the story and how you handle it.
     
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  4. 31152104

    31152104 Member

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    Agree with deadrats. I prefer something which is not a *we are now here* intercom blast (For some stories, especially those with hectic pacings and many locations (spy novels?) this can work though, as always, the taste is not in the cake)

    Instance, take it slow:

    Johhny Boyu stepped into the busy street. Vendors were rushing by on their little erands. He watched as a great flock of pigeons alighted from a nearby building (Readers don't know where Johnny Boyu is atm, so they assume he is still in Rio). It was then that he turned a corner and saw the Eiffel Tower peeking out in the distance (They now know he is in Paris through narrative, rather than immediate exposition)

    If the journey is not important, don't put stress on it. Maybe intersperse a few lines about how "Emily Pemily never found her sea legs on the voyage, and even now, three days after docking, she still felt as if a rat had crawled down her throat" or "Fonzi sipped his coffee. The man before him reminded him of one of those detectives in dubbed Thai movies, the only damned films they had stocked on the Boeing. He had that same sallow look, milky eyed and doglike."

    Then the readers know how they got there, and that nothing noteworthy happened in transit.

    EDIT: I believe the same applies to fantasy settings. Even if they cross a great desert, if the author chooses not to describe the journey, that is fine. Just let them show up in Boraxia, maybe the journey was pleasant, they approach the great gates after "traveling many leauges through farmland, across great rivers where the terramancers have rended rocks from mountains to construct bridges and dams."

    maybe they joined a caravan, so for instance Scene 1: Gromli arranges journey with Salemash, he grins "Yes, yes, such is price. Good for you, yes?"

    Scene 2: Shortly describe journey (Many days they trudged through the desert, from well to well, until finally the pearly spires of their destination flashed in the sunlight )

    And that is the journey done, they enter Boraxia and plot progresses.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019
  5. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Top of the buzzing to you. :) Supporter Contributor

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    They set sail, off the coast of the British Isles.

    Then they landed 10 hours forth hence at the port of LAX.

    You mean that would be a tad bit confusing upon first reading it?
    Nah, get outta here...
    1700's British ships were well known for their ability to fly to where
    they needed to go, cause how else are they gonna get there any faster?
    Not like they had wheels on the bottoms of their hulls, that would just
    be simply absurd. :D
    (Also I don't think LAX would even be close to period correct.) :p
     
  6. 31152104

    31152104 Member

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    Now you got me imagining a semi-biological Man of War, sails dancing with the wind, then slowly furled... it approaches the dock and walks onto the land. Sort of great tentacle legs that expand and contract, pulling it along the seafloor, battling the laws of physics.
     
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  7. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Easiest way to effect a smooth transition when you don't want to show the journey itself is to end the previous chapter with them about to start on the journey. Then start the next chapter with either their arrival at their destination, or after they've been there a while (make the passage of time and location clear.)
     
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  8. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin The bastards hung me in the spring of '25.... Contributor

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    Does it have to be interesting? Just today I went from home, to work, to the convenience store, back to work, to the main office, to home, to the liquor store, back home, to one restaurant with my wife, to another restaurant with my wife, to home, to the dumpster, and back home. I used my car for some legs and my feet for others. None of it was particularly interesting. I understand that you're taking about a more significant journey that took a month or so, but not every action needs to be worthy of a blow by blow accounting. Narrative summary is your friend. Write the scenes up, and they seem "jumpy" later fill in the gap with a little aside if you think you need to.
     
  9. Siriusly

    Siriusly Member

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    Reading the comments, there are some very helpful suggestions here. I think it's wonderful to see many suggestions as there is no one true way to tackle this.

    I, personally, find it easiest to tackle it as @jannert has suggested. Ending the chapter and started the new one at the new destination is definitely the cleanest route. Assuming there's no pertinent information causing the story to suffer in the 'long desert journey scene' or what have you.

    For me, it all depends on how important the scene is to driving the story and what purpose it serve in driving the story forward. Maybe try a few ideas and see which one you like best.

    Let us know how you work it out! :)
     

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