Thursday, January 10, 2008

Getting to the Other Side


Scene in Westphalia with Castle of Bentheim,

Jacob van Ruisdael,

oil on canvas, after 1650.

I tend to think of them as bridge scenes, even when I'm slogging through the current up to my knees, trying to ford the muddy waters between one major WIP event and the next.

These scenes connecting major plot events have many uses. They may give the reader a chance to catch their breath, absorb implications. They follow logically.

Often, these scenes are used to fill in small practical details about the situation and the time line. Used like bookmarks, they may be boring.

Though they give the appearance of hiatus by their slower pace, transitional scenes should not be mere static regurgitations.

Plot develops partly on a character's reactions to past events and his anticipation of future developments.

The ever acute Steve Malley, in a January 8 post, describes linkage scenes as sequels, and outlines such scenes in terms of their psychological pattern -- feeling> thought>options>decision.

Think of it in terms of omygod>thatseriouslysucks>whatodo>yes!

He says it much better than I, with examples.


BTW, I am happy to report that today we will have 15 more minutes of light than we did in the sun-dark days.


27 comments:

Julie said...

(I love van Ruisdael when I come across him. And Church.)

...and thank you for the link to Steve who/m I had not really picked up on.

More priceless acorns to hoard.

Bernita said...

Lots of excellent advice on Steve's blog, Julie.

Jaye Wells said...

"omygod>thatseriouslysucks>whatodo>yes!"

I need to print this on a card and keep it in my wallet. It would come in handy in so many situations.

Bernita said...

Jaye, I have difficulty believing you'd ever be at a loss in any situation!

StarvingWriteNow said...

I hate bridge scenes.

Demon Hunter said...

Sometimes I really hate connecting scenes. It is difficult to make everything flow smoothly. Great post! :*)

Bernita said...

They can be difficult, Starving.

Thank you, my Demon. Because we want to avoid blocks of introspection yet explore significence.

Robyn said...

Again, I'm strange. I like bridge scenes, where the protags try to decide the next step; mostly because I have a hard time believing anyone could figure it all out in the midst of non-stop action.

Whether its ghosts and witches, spies and killers,or even a simple sweet romance, properly done I like to see the characters process what's happened to them and decide on a course of action. Sometimes, so I can yell at them that they're obviously wrong, stupid! Great fun.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

I try to make every scene raise a question. Bridge scenes come after some sort of conclusion, or answered question, but they can still raise more questions.

raine said...

omygod>thatseriouslysucks>whatodo>yes!
Oh, that's excellent! Going to keep that in mind.

we will have 15 more minutes of light than we did in the sun-dark days.
Thank God, thank God...

Ello said...

Great advice over there. I am definitely going to go read some more! I hate transitions.

Vesper said...

Great advice, Bernita. Thank you!

Bernita said...

As a reader, Robyn,I often find them a welcome relief. As a writer, my feeling are mixed.

I agree, SS. Even though they may answer questions/ plot threads they should definitely raise another set.
Sort of one step back and two steps forward.

Seems simpler if one sees the progress in terms of one character, Raine.

By the end of the month,nearly an hour!

Mine his archives, Ello. Good stuff there!

Credit Steve, Vesper!

The Anti-Wife said...

Thanks for the link. Very helpful.

SzélsőFa said...

I've just taken a glimpse into Steve's posts and just came back to say I'm gone there again. And again. and again :)

But as Jaye pointed out, your wording of the proper order of steps is just as great!

Sometimes I feel my writing consists of bridge scenes. No action :(
Well, I have a lot to learn.

Bernita said...

AW, I'm always pleased to find topics like this.
I hope if I see the process analyzed enough different ways,it might stick with me.

Szelsofa, thank you. And, Szelsofa, we all have lots to learn.

Charles Gramlich said...

Definetely Steve's posts on scene and sequel were helpful to me.

Bernita said...

And to me also, Charles.

Steve Malley said...

Thanks for the link, and I'm with Szelsofa: your one-sentence take said it all at least as well as my rambling.

And sadly, your fifteen extra minutes of daylight means fifteen less for me. Long slow slide to winter now... ;-)

Bernita said...

Steve, I really appreciate your dissections of various writing problems.

Winter? Heh. Gather ye rosebuds.

Gabriele C. said...

Interesting blog you linked, Bernita. Thanks for pointing us to it.

Lana Gramlich said...

Hooray for the Sun! *Snoopy dances*

booklady said...

THANK YOU for this. I needed it. I love to write the pivotal scenes, but I know the bridges between them need to be there, or things will be choppy. They just seem so...well, boring to write, even if they aren't as boring to read, and are, in fact, necessary. In fact, am off now to write another bridge scene tonight!

writtenwyrdd said...

I read that post, too, and although I don't like th term sequel, it makes lots of good sense, doesn't it?

Bernita said...

Welcome, Gabriele.

Such a relief, Lana!

Happy the link helps, Blooklady.

Indeed, it does, Written.

cyn said...

well, put! must check out the link. i have problems with these transitional scenes. they are very important, and tend to be "quiet" but need to do more than have the heroine paint her nails and have a snack. hah! tgif, bernita!

Bernita said...

Hope Steve's advice helps, Cyn!