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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Establishing Shot vs Jump Cut

   
Author Topic: Establishing Shot vs Jump Cut
Zero
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In my short story I have several instances where I must jump the story forward (no surprise here). What I mean is, my MC has a conversation with an ex-military officer who explains to him how to break into the old army base. So should I include a couple of lines about him going there, maybe what his thoughts are, etc. Or can I just jump from their dialogue to him inside the base? That feels like steel grinding on steel a little bit, to me, because I feel like there needs to be some oil between segments, but then again - it is a short story.

What do you think?


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Christine
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I think it can work both ways.

You can always use a page break to transition from one scene to another. This is accepted and understood.

As for showing him going there, that can work in an entirely different way. It's a good time to do character building if your story could benefit from that sort of thing.


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Zero
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Well I am using a page break, that's necessary for this particular scene. But when I come back it's a matter of including a summary of how he got where he is, or else simply having him there.

Here is a cheesy example:

(With Summary)

"And that is how you get in the base, good luck!"

---

The road to the base was cluttered with traffic, so Joe had pulled off the the main road and continued on foot. It took a little over an hour, and he had to sneak in the back way, but eventually he arrived. It was a warehouse, mostly. With only three sentries patrolling the outside. At the opportune moment he slipped inside.

"So, you've come to the base," the bad guy said.

VERSUS
(Without Summary)

"And that's how you get in the base. Good luck."

---

"So you've come to the base," the bad-guy said. Joe looked around the base, it was surprisingly cliche for a base.

"Yes, I'm here." He bust out his machinegun and started mowing people down.

[This message has been edited by Zero (edited September 17, 2008).]


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annepin
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Well, you could include a line or two of him prepping. Does he need to get supplies? Give himself a pep talk? He could do this on the way. It needn't be long.

Jumps will work, too. I think just dumping him there will work. If he's going to encounter trouble breaking in then include him breaking in. If not, don't. Alternatively, you could summarize/ cut out the dialogue where he finds out how to break in, then narrate that scene:

Greg glanced over his shoulder then took Joe by the elbow. "Okay, listen. I'm going to tell you how to break in, but if anyone asks, you didn't hear if from me, right? And if you get caught..." He shook his head. "You're on your own. Now here's what you have to do."

Joe listened, and remembered.
#

Joe fumbled with the lock. Greg had given him the code, but what if they had changed it? How old was his information? Joe cursed himself for not questioning Greg more. He was too trusting... blah blah


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Gardener
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I would consider which is more interesting - having one person tell the other person how to do it, or watching the MC do it. Maybe you should just say - He gave MC the information. Then have MC use the information to do the actually breaking in.

Unless the way to break in is essential to the plot, I wouldn't spend too much time on it. You could drop a line like "So and so's information was right."


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Zero
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Good thoughts, thanks.
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