Transition Scenes Are Important
Why are they so important? I’m glad you asked.
“Transition chapters” or “transition scenes” are what I call those in-between times in the story. The parts that are in between the big Plot Points, in between the scenes that have lots of action and conflict.
You know the ones I’m talking about–nothing is really happening, because your character has returned home for the day and is making dinner before going to sleep. Or they’re working their day job before they can put on the mask and go be a superhero.
These scenes are important to include for a few reasons!
They show your character being human. Sometimes it’s easy to let our OCs get overpowered, or to let them be go-go-going all the time. If you show them collapsing into bed tired, or you show them nursing wounds after a fight, it humanizes them. These scenes remind your reader, “Hey, these aren’t infallible, 2D characters. These are people, that you should care about.”
Pacing. If your story is all plot all the time, things can (and probably will) end up feeling really rushed. I know you’re excited about your story, but take a moment to sit back and let the story really draw itself out. Let things unfold slowly, instead of rushing ahead madly.
I am guilty of rushing ahead madly, and am warning you from experience instead of from superiority: your story will be better if you remember to include a few down-time, transitionary scenes.
These scenes allow your reader a chance to breathe and relax. When you, the writer, take a step back, you are providing an opportunity for your character to recover from whatever hell you just put them through. And while this is important, it allows your readers to relax, too! They will sit back, let out a deep breath they hadn’t realized they were holding, and when they get to the end of the transition scene? They will be ready to dive right in again.
Including these scenes will boost word count, too. Whether you’re doing NaNoWriMo, trying to flesh out your story and bump that count up, or anything else, the equation is simple. More scenes = high word count. And when you’re running out of high-action, high-conflict scenes, adding in some transition scenes can balance the scales.
They include scenes for your characters to interact when there’s not super high stakes. High stakes are great, but some of the best characterization happen in the down times. I wrote a chapter once where my characters were resting after traveling, and I ended up writing a chapter full of puns (excerpt here). I never would’ve written that fun scene without taking a moment to pause and include a transition chapter.
So they might suck to write sometimes, but these transition chapters/scenes are really important! Consider going back through your work and looking for places to add them in; I know I sure had to.
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