Post Reply How to write transitions.
15750 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
25 / M
Offline
Posted 3/27/17
So, I've been watching March comes in like a lion and I am in love with the transitions. They have a way of naturally flowing from one place to the next through interesting cuts and visuals and cutting out all of the unnecessary bits.

For a simple example, watch this scene from 4:45 to about 5:30 (don't worry, theres no spoilers): http://www.crunchyroll.com/march-comes-in-like-a-lion/episode-5-chapter-9-agreement-chapter-10-over-the-cuckoos-nest-722551

It is just about the simplest transition possible, but I think its kind of beautiful in that simplicity.

I understand how it is done in a visual medium: Intersperse a conversation with images to create a dialogue between the audio and the visuals allowing the conversation to conclude after "saying" everything that needs to be said. That part makes sense.

But in writing, how do you do such organic, flowing transitions?

I find myself using (or perhaps overusing) breaks in the text but that always feels like I am stopping and then starting again in a new place.

Does anyone have any ideas or examples or even if you want to write a little bit and try out some transitions, that would be cool too.
12131 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
20 / M / Winnipeg, MB.
Offline
Posted 3/27/17
Well if your narrative is tight enough (which it should be) all the characters should be doing things that are at the very least similar, usually working towards the same goal or in competition with one another or something of the sort. To make a good transition without losing momentum you just need to end the scene on the character who serves as the focal point of said scene doing something that ties into what the character we follow in the next scene will be doing and kind of segue into it from that. There's nothing wrong with breaks though. They're direct, effective and I would definitely not fault anyone for using them.

Also, sorry if thus disappoints you but you're never going to do a transition quite like something in MCiLaL purely in writing. It achieves its effect by taking advantages of the resources allowed to it by being made in a visual medium, and those are resources the written word does not have access to.
26190 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
26 / F / Various
Offline
Posted 3/28/17 , edited 3/28/17

octorockandroll wrote:

Well if your narrative is tight enough (which it should be) all the characters should be doing things that are at the very least similar, usually working towards the same goal or in competition with one another or something of the sort. To make a good transition without losing momentum you just need to end the scene on the character who serves as the focal point of said scene doing something that ties into what the character we follow in the next scene will be doing and kind of segue into it from that.


Not necessarily. A story with multiple, seemingly barely related plotlines is not necessarily bad, it's just different. The different areas of focus should all serve the overall goal of the piece, but that's not the same as having everything centered around the main characters' in-universe goal. Your side characters should have their own lives, and that means they're sometimes focused on things that don't involve the main character. Whether or not you should show that, is something that depends on the sort of story you're trying to make. There's no one right way.

And actually - unless there's something about the characters I don't know (I don't watch this show) - the aunt breaking her foot, and the main guy picking up the kid from kindergarten aren't connected either. What makes it feel so smooth is that they're both on the phone, and the mood is generally similar.



Also, sorry if thus disappoints you but you're never going to do a transition quite like something in MCiLaL purely in writing. It achieves its effect by taking advantages of the resources allowed to it by being made in a visual medium, and those are resources the written word does not have access to.


Which brings me to this - yes, actually, writing can do that.

I think that as long as an emotion exists in the human experience, it can be expressed in any medium.

To use another example from an anime, http://www.crunchyroll.com/acca-13-territory-inspection-dept/episode-5-overlapping-footprints-in-the-distance-727519
Acca ep. 5, 6:35-7:35. Some spoilers, I...guess? but nothing too major (...?)

Anyway, it also works better in Japanese than how the subtitles translate it. When he gets out of the car, he says, "Me, ka?", and when it cuts to Mauve in the bread store, she says, "Konai, ka?". The one word + ka pattern creates the echo. The subs lost that.
The atmosphere is similar between Jean's moment and Mauve's moment - quiet, but tense, but not letting anyone see that tension. The juxtaposition with those three getting excited about the potatoes .... ughhh I can't explain it, but it adds to it. If I wanted to spend a lot more time on this response, I could find a way to explain it, but I have actual work to do that I'm already procrastinating on so I'll leave it at that. It's like, the tension with the people worried about a thing still exists under the normal people getting excited about normal things, and also, it's that normalcy that they want to protect. It's like the school scenes in Code Geass that people seem to hate so much, but that's the point of them.

. . . . . Geass and Acca are so similar and Geass is actually the smarter one but most people will never realize that because Geass has robots and Acca doesn't.
(Doesn't Mauve look just like Cornelia, though?)
15750 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
25 / M
Offline
Posted 3/28/17

octorockandroll wrote:

Well if your narrative is tight enough (which it should be) all the characters should be doing things that are at the very least similar, usually working towards the same goal or in competition with one another or something of the sort. To make a good transition without losing momentum you just need to end the scene on the character who serves as the focal point of said scene doing something that ties into what the character we follow in the next scene will be doing and kind of segue into it from that. There's nothing wrong with breaks though. They're direct, effective and I would definitely not fault anyone for using them.

Also, sorry if thus disappoints you but you're never going to do a transition quite like something in MCiLaL purely in writing. It achieves its effect by taking advantages of the resources allowed to it by being made in a visual medium, and those are resources the written word does not have access to.


Well I guess the bigger issue isn't actually so much transitioning between characters or chapters. I find that is generally pretty easy. I think the problem is the "cutting out the fat" transitions, like the one in the example I showed. If I was writing that scene, I would've written a short conversation which was pretty empty with your "hello"s and "talk to you later"s and everything. Then the character would have gotten their shoes on and headed out. This is slow and fairly empty and loses momentum while telling the reader things they don't need to know. Thats why I love that transition so much. It is incredibly efficient at telling you everything you need to know and moving on.

Basically, it comes down to "how do you do a short time skip over the boring stuff without being incredibly jarring?"

And yeah, I know that I am never going to be able to replicate these transitions, it was more of a jumping off point for something that I've been thinking about for a while. My problem is that I don't really understand yet how to use the tools of writing when making transitions.


LavenderMintRose wrote:

Anyway, it also works better in Japanese than how the subtitles translate it. When he gets out of the car, he says, "Me, ka?", and when it cuts to Mauve in the bread store, she says, "Konai, ka?". The one word + ka pattern creates the echo. The subs lost that.
The atmosphere is similar between Jean's moment and Mauve's moment - quiet, but tense, but not letting anyone see that tension. The juxtaposition with those three getting excited about the potatoes .... ughhh I can't explain it, but it adds to it. If I wanted to spend a lot more time on this response, I could find a way to explain it, but I have actual work to do that I'm already procrastinating on so I'll leave it at that. It's like, the tension with the people worried about a thing still exists under the normal people getting excited about normal things, and also, it's that normalcy that they want to protect. It's like the school scenes in Code Geass that people seem to hate so much, but that's the point of them.


Hm, thats actually a pretty neat transition. It is basically a "matching scene transition" cut (where you have elements of a visual scene in the same place before and after the cut) but with words. Actually a lot of quick cuts (match cuts, cutting on action etc) would work in writing pretty well for transitions. I'll look into that.
26190 cr points
Send Message: Send PM GB Post
26 / F / Various
Offline
Posted 3/30/17 , edited 4/1/17
Code Geass also has a lot of interesting scene transitions.
. . . . . they neeeeeeeeeed to get that thing on Crunchy but it isn't.

But when I think of scene transitions, the first thing that comes to mind is in episode 16, with Milly's date.



Also the one in the beginning of episode 3.

How it uses the medium: the scene of {precious darling} killing {other precious darling} (yes, he is precious, check the audio dramas) cuts right into the scene of Lelouch in school - instead of the sound of the gunshot, we get a flock of birds right as Milly hits Lelouch and tells him not to sleep in the student council meeting.

Why it works: ~ The juxtaposition of this savvy, ruthless person who quickly gathered this puny resistance cell, organized them, and strategized them into a victory they never believed possible... into the mostly-normal (but unusually beautiful) student council vice president with something of a bad-boy reputation but not really, that is in his normal life. ~ The birds give the sensation that that might have all been a dream - and that's how Lulu feels about it, somewhat, too. It isn't until he comes into class and sees the other students discussing the incident that it really sinks in that he did that, at which point, he goes and vomits. He can be that ruthless strategist, but he isn't there, yet. After everything, he really is still more or less a normal student. (This is important, because at this point, he can go several different ways - he can become that ruthless killer, or he can become a more noble protector. His interactions with his sister and classmates show that, and show that that would be more natural for him. It's important that they establish both sides of him early. Showing the ruthless side first and the caring side later highlights the caring side in an interesting way - similar but not the same as ACCA episode 7 and Marginal#4 episode 9, which I discussed in this post -> http://lavendermintrose.tumblr.com/post/158936937512/i-take-back-what-i-said-about-acca-last-episode)

. . . . anyway.

How to do it in prose: Again, mirroring. ahahaha I exhausted my thoughts on all that but I promise I'll finish this thought.
You must be logged in to post.