What’s your advice to make a scene flow into another? I don’t like saying ‘and then they arrived’ and whatnot. I just struggle with making the story stick together. I’m trying to not use page breaks to show it’s the next scene but rather kept it going.
Hello there, dear patroness! ♥︎
I have touched on this subject in the past, but I think you pose a very nice twist on this situation :D
You see, generally when I get questions about transitions (or connecting scenes that don’t happen one after the other) my advice is to either:
- (A) Cut to the chase. This would be what you refer to with starting the next chapter or scene with "Ten days later we arrived at Whiterun" or "It took Joel and Ellie three hours to get back to the safe-house."
- (B) Cut to black. Just like in script-writing, this would be having a hard formatted separation between scenes. This can be a pagebreak, as you mentioned, a passing in time (indicated by a centered *****), or by simply starting a new chapter.
But, you are not actually looking to do either of these things. So, of course that advice is not helpful. Thankfully, though, I have just the thing for you c;
Are you familiar with Gary Provost’s "This Sentence Has Five Words"? You should click on the link and read it, it’s not very long— but I think it kind of proves the point I am about to make.
Writing is kind of like music. There is a certain rhythm to prose, and a melody to words— that when exploited can bring your story to the next level. I am not talking about going full-on Shakespeare, but keeping in mind the melody of words can be useful to making stories flow better.
What does this have to do with your question? People forget that Music and Storytelling are not that different, a long time ago they were one and the same. Although both have evolved over time— I think that the solution to your problem can be found… in music.
How would a musician connect two parts of a song that are not entirely the same? How would they transition from one section back to the main part of the song? With a bridge, of course c;
So, let’s find a bridge between where you are in the story, and where you want to lead the reader to. Of course, in order for the bridge to connect them effectively it must share something in common— or otherwise you are likely to end up with a blunt transition like "We arrived at Mercy Hospital two hours later." Technically speaking that is a bridge, just not a very good one. Talking about ‘good’ bridges…
Here are a couple of tips for writing more effective transitions:
- Consider the character’s thoughts. What is troubling them? Can you use this as a way to connect the two scenes? We have all experienced moments of waiting, thinking, and trying to make up our minds. Showing a character dealing with internal conflict is a great way to bridge between two scenes.
- Montage Time. If you wish to maintain the narrative flowing, a great way to connect two scenes is to use a montage (just like in the movies). Of course, the biggest pitfall is that it is really easy to end up writing stale filler (we went here, we did that, this happened to this person). The way to stay away from this is to not focus on the characters, but rather the narration. I have used this to add character to First Person stories, as it basically gives the narrator a chance to reflect— much in the same way we reflect over those long periods of time when ‘nothing’ happened in our lives.
The most effective way to continue the flow of the story (across two scenes that happen in different times) is to create a bridge (or transition) between them by using similar elements. This allows the reader to follow the narration without interruptions, because they are following the same melody c;
I hope this helps! This is one of those writing situations where practice will be the best way to implement these tips. If anyone has any more thoughts, feel free to share them!
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