I am nearly 30,000 words into my novel, I am right on par for where I should be for the month of November if I am going to finish on time (for NaNo that is). Which, I will. I am confident of that at this point. However, despite all the good that I have been able to find amid the serious word padding (hello everyone with first and last names, and a heavy use of “Brother X” and “Sister X” as they did back then), I have had my struggles. Chief among these struggles is scene transitions: What to do at the end of a scene? How do I get my characters to the end of the scene I am working on? Which sections should I skip writing about? I have no problem with action and dialogue – it is the wordy narrator bits that haunt me. The characters cannot talk forever! It is the bringing the characters to another time/place that I am struggling with.
I keep remembering this quote from http://theeditorsblog.net on How To Write Scene Transitions:
Transitions are important in fiction because the writer can’t possibly portray or account for every moment in a character’s day, week, or life. A story may stretch over years—readers don’t need to know what happened every minute of those years.
I have my chapter outline all written out neatly. That is not the problem. I know where I am going, just not how to get them there. Because of this, I have skipped many chapters that I have planned to write, and still do need to write, yet I cannot find the best way to take my characters to those times/places. While I have written wonderful scenes in the beginning and now near the end, I am left to go back to decipher what to do about those pesky missing middle sections.
Here is what I have learned about transitions
Scene transitions need to identify place, time, and viewpoint character, especially if there’s been a change in any of the three. If the new scene has a change in mood or tone, that should also be established right away.
Also, have a hook at the end of a scene/chapter to keep the reader wanting to read. Every chapter needs a hook. (Source: Shirley Jump Scene Transitions and Hooks )
I think I’ve learned enough for one morning. Maybe now I can write a decent scene transition. Or maybe all my characters are just doomed to wallow in their middle of their scenes forever.