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Writing Tip 21 - From One Scene to Another


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You know that moment when you're struggling to come up with what happens next after finishing a scene that feels wrapped up, and you're wracking your brain trying to figure out what could happen after that? Well, sometimes the reason you can't come up with something, is because you don't need to.

There doesn't have to be a 'next scene' after the act is finished. This is where a time skip comes in handy.

Trust your feelings. When you feel like there is a scene between two events and you just haven't got your finger on what it is yet, then, by all means, search for inspiration and refer to your notes for future events that you could perhaps foreshadow in this space, or an aspect of a character or a relation between two characters that you want to showcase.

But when you just desperately want to move to the next scene, chances are that there is no scene in between them, and all you need is a time skip, or even a location change.

A good trick is to switch to another character that isn't in the same place and do a scene that takes place elsewhere. That could even mean switching to your antagonist for a minute and give your readers a greater understanding of your villain and what they're up to.

Time skips have a great number of roles to play, everything from skipping unnecessary details and simultaneously providing convenient gaps of time that you can use later in a pinch and not have to keep a choking-tight leash on the timeline of events, to alleviate some stress of feeling like you have to write every single line of everything your characters have ever done in their entire lives.

Cause trust me, that's exhausting and unnecessary for everyone.

Having said that, use with care.

Don't use a time skip every time you can't come up with a scene to link two others together. -- especially, if the events are too far apart. You will not feel good about writing it that way when you go back and read it, and nobody who reads it would thank you for it.

That's lazy writing, and your time skips will become significantly less effective with every time you use it that way. It's important to space your time skips appropriately.

On the upside, there is no real limit on how much time can pass in a time skip. It can be anywhere from a few hours, days, or weeks, to years, decades, centuries, and even millennia. No limits.

As always, I hope this helps; feel free to request future tips in the comments, and happy writing!

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