Scene Transitions: The Literary Bridge over Troubled Waters

I took a break yesterday from the blog to work on Lights and Shadows (I’m ALWAYS working on Lights and Shadows so it’s a crappy excuse…hehe), but I’m back with a new topic today and it should be an interesting one.

Today’s topic is about Scene Transitions or those wonderful little thingies that we employ to take us from the end of one scene to the beginning of another. First off, let me state that there are NO set in stone rules for writing a scene transition. Whatever gets you from Point A to Point B will work and there are too many examples to list here though here is a common one that I have run across.

The Chorus line of Pound Signs: Some of us are old enough to remember before Twitter when this (#) meant a pound sign. Or a tic-tac-toe board…whatever. Using a trio of pound signs goes back to an old newspaper trick used to separate paragraphs or to end a page. Many Old School writers started off working for newspapers and adopted that little thing to separate scenes. I’m not saying it’s not a good thing to use, and I used them WAY back in the day, but they can be jarring to the reader because they simply break one scene and start another. I don’t recommend using this because I believe that it screws up the story’s flow and when the reader has to go back and figure out what the hell happened when Character A vanishes and is replaced by Character Z doing something totally different in a totally different location.

What I do is to end the scene at an appropriate note is to add a little exposition to describe how events are changing and then move into the next scene. The Story will always dictate what it needs and we should be empathic to those needs. Or you can blow something up, kill off a character, etc, to accomplish the desired effect you’re going for. Here is an example of a scene transition that I am using in Lights and Shadows:

“Get on that while I’ll check the rest of this place out.” He pulled out the Colt and popped the cylinder. His supply of smart bullets were seriously depleted after the last run in with that hologram and he dreaded the prospect of using his backup laser. I knew I should have packed more speed loaders, he thought as he snapped the cylinder back into position. Damn you and your ‘promotions’, Arnax. He reached into a belt pouch and removed a small laser sight, which he attached over his weapon’s iron sights. After checking the calibration, he held the pistol at the ready and continued on.

Okay, that’s a little light on exposition, but it works as a scene transition. At least to me.

Comments and suggestions are always welcome, so feel free to share your thoughts. Thanks for your time. 🙂