Anne Rice on Transition
00:08 [Anne Rice] With transition, you have to learn to leave things out. Say you have a character leaving someone's house. You do not have to describe him walking all the way home. You really have to learn to jump to when he got home. "When I walked in the door" can be the next sentence. I mean, you can break off. Of course, you know where you see this all the time, obviously, is in the movies and in commercials.
00:30 I've actually learned a lot from watching commercials on TV. I've learned the amazing amount of information that a commercial can pack into 30 seconds or 60 seconds. And they do it by these very sharp transitions and yet we can follow it perfectly and we understand the whole coherence of what they're showing us. I try to take that to writing, I try to do the same thing. And there are the times where you want to write a long, bridge chapter where you
01:00 cover a long period of time and you describe the quality of the passing of that time. You break away from the immediacy of the scene, and you go into a long transitional description of what the next few months were like. It's always a little difficult for me to do a transition. It's always easier for me to stay right in the scene. That's the easiest thing for me. But I've found that, I don't know, I guess the best way to make a transition sometimes is to be
01:30 ruthless. You know, just break it right there. Put two lines of space. Just hit the enter key and space down two spaces. One of the marks, I think, of very amateurish and clumsy writing is that writers don't know how to stop a scene. If a person gets into a car, that person has to get out of the car before that writer can leave that person, and as you go on you learn that that's not so. You can leave
02:00 that person at any moment, and you can leap forward in time. It's difficult. I go to other writers sometimes to just get an idea of pace from them. I go to Hemingway to see how he paces. I go to Dickens to see how he paces, how he takes huge blocks of time, like years in the life of Pip in Great Expectations and how he covers all of that. There are many, many different ways of doing it. And again, some of it gets back to the emotions of the person.
02:30 Just to give a crude example, you can say "In the next few years, I was more frustrated than ever before in my life." Or, "In the next few years I learned very little." I've actually, in some novels, skipped over centuries because I'm writing about immortal characters, vampires, whatever. I've actually said I'm not going to say anything about this century, it was bad. I'm going to go right now to the Renaissance, this is what I want to talk about.