Often, I hear writers say that when they’re working on a book, they write the big scenes first, and then go back and fill in their transition scenes later. On the one hand, this is a tempting tactic – it’s kind of like eating dessert first. You get to write the exciting scenes, sketch out the big plot points. The thing is, this method really underrates both the importance and the joy of transition scenes. Writing, like life, is not JUST about the big, scenic overlooks. It’s about the sweeping bend in the highway before hand. The exact angle that makes your heart pound as the trees thin, and then the grand view is revealed.
That bend in the road MATTERS. Too short, too straight, and there’s not enough anticipation. Too long or winding, and the anticipation of what’s coming is lost in the experience of what IS. Transition scenes are the same way. They’re not something to be shoehorned in as an afterthought, but rather, they need to be crafted with care. Don’t throw away the transitions. Make them work for you. Make them take the pinnacle scenes even higher, and the devastating scenes even lower.
Transition scenes are important. Treat them that way. Happy writing!