Smooth Scene Breaks

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by Lynn Hobbs

Descriptions of a scene and section break are simple. A section break can be another characters point of view or closure of a particular scene. A scene break within the same scene will show days or hours later in the story; or the character’s advance to a new location.

A challenge to include them in a flowing manner is not only worth the effort, but a must for any writer. Reaching such goals can be a learning experience.

Often, as a new writer who doesn’t plot, it’s easy to enter a scene break without realizing the end result. The author knows how he or she wants the story to proceed, but can get in a hurry. If readers feel you ‘jumped around’ too much, they will not back track to reread where you left off. They will lose interest.

Follow my similarity of writing your story and taking a cross-town bus ride.

You board the bus on Fourth Street and plan to exit on Twentieth Street. Selecting a window seat, you enjoy the view, and exchange conversation with other passengers. Your goal is to have a relaxing ride. This is highly possible, unless you spot a donut shop a block away and excitedly depart the bus. Waiting for the next bus to arrive, it rains, and you have no umbrella. Irritable, and wet, you climb the steps onto the second bus; not having conversation with anyone. You then notice a coffee house and leave the bus again. Later, after enjoying coffee, you board the third bus, and your initial point is lost as you finally exit on Twentieth Street.

As in writing, the same principle applies.

Same ride, same destination, but after several ‘jumps’; your reader loses the point you intended to make and is drifting as much as you are on the bus ride.

Most breaks are necessary to move forward in the story process.

If possible, attempt to connect two scene breaks with one short sentence or paragraph. Again, a worthwhile challenge, this one also encourages growth as a writer. If done smoothly, the transition won’t cause the reader to ‘stumble’ while reading your words. You won’t lose any momentum, either.

One example of scene jumping:

Scene one ends: “I’m thankful for your advice and glad you sat next to me.” The young woman clutched the baby tighter as it’s crying abruptly ended. Glancing over her shoulder, the older woman departed the bus. “Babies feel more secure when not held loosely.”

Scene two begins: Is he here alone with that baby?

A smooth transition connecting the two scenes would be: “Babies feel more secure when not held loosely.” Nodding, the younger woman gathered the diaper bag, and left the bus at the next stop. A short walk to parenting class, she noticed a young man with a stroller entering the room. Is he here alone with that baby?

Writing challenges can be as rewarding for the author as the finished product is to the reader!

Lynn HobbsLynn Hobbs is the author of the Running Forward Series; a powerful faith and family saga from Desert Coyote Productions.
Book #1: Sin, Secrets, and Salvation, awarded 1st place, Religious Fiction, 2013, Texas Association of Authors.
Book #2: River Town, 1st place, Religious Fiction, 2014, TAA.
Book #3: Hidden Creek.
You can find Lynn on Amazon, Facebook, Goodreads, LinkedIn, Twitter: @LynnHobbsAuthor

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