Sunday, March 31, 2013

Chapter and Scene Transitions: Variety or Reliability?

What is the best way to transition between chapters, or from one scene to the next? Is it good to use the same transition device throughout your novel, or to vary it from chapter to chapter?

I've seen the following transitions. Feel free to comment add any that I miss:

  • Don't even try. Just end chapters on a cliff-hanger.
    • If done well, and not done in every chapter
  • End every chapter with a question.
    • This keeps the reader engaged, but the question needs to be interesting, not too difficult, and answered quickly in the next chapter
  • Copy a word or phrase from the end of one chapter, and use it in the set-up for the next
    • This can either be clever or corny, depending on how carefully it is done
  Here's a writing prompt. Write out the scene or chapter, and then try transitioning to the next using each of the options above. Which works best? Would you always use that, or use a different type for each chapter, and why?

Writing Prompt: They always warned me that this job would kill me. I just never thought it would be so soon, or so embarrassing...

Have fun, and keep writing!

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