Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A useful cinematic device you can use in your novels is the jump cut.

A very useful cinematic device which novelists can use in their books is the jump cut.

In a film, a jump cut is a cut in film editing in which two sequential shots of the same subject are taken from camera positions that vary only slightly.

This type of edit gives the effect of jumping forwards in time.
In writing, a jump cut merely means to cut from one important thing to the next important thing, leaving out the boring stuff.

Many beginning writers feel compelled to tell readers everything that goes on, following the protagonist as she goes down the stairs, gets in the car, drives to the restaurant, parks, and goes inside and gets a table.
It’s far more effective to do the fiction version of a jump cut.

From my book, Deadly Sacrifice:
“I'd be delighted to see you,” Matthew Monroe said. “Can you be here at four? ” 
(Jump cut)
“At ten minutes of four, Veronica sat in the two-story lobby of the Largo headquarters of the Church of the Almighty Lord.”

From Degree Of Guilt by Richard North Patterson.
“Congratulations,” she said. “You're Carlo’s father now.”
(Here’s the jump cut:) 
When Paget appeared in Brooks office, there was a tape recorder on the desk.

With a jump cut, we are “jumping” from the last important thing to the next important thing, which keeps the readers more interested at the same time. We did NOT follow Paget to bed and up the next morning and onto the freeway....
As Elmore Leonard said, we're “leaving out the boring stuff.”

A jump cut can also be used for a scene change, as in this example from my novel, Kill Cue:
“Hey, you guys!” It was Glenn, pushing through the crowd with a pink stuffed bear under his arm. “Look what l found.”
Veronica looked up and smiled. The sun was starting to fall behind the Riverview condo building and the air had turned considerably cooler. John Dyer had just signed off the remote broadcast. She saw Ray Post locking the trailer. A few feet away, several hairy-knuckled men in cowboy hats were setting up musical instruments and amps on a flat-bed truck. A sign said, “Missy Lee Gibbs and her Country Pioneers.” Since she had heard her fair share of country music during her two years at WSUN, Veronica was eager to avoid hearing more. “Let’s go have a drink at City Pier.”
Archie and Glenn agreed. The pink bear abstained.
(Jump cut and scene change) * * *
He watched them walk along the concrete railing toward City Pier. Veronica and Glenn were both wearing blue, and he was carrying a pink stuffed toy. Glenn was the target today. Give him a once-over. Get the tape. Get the hell out of there. 
Download a movie and look at it with a new eye; as a method of writing a novel in scene after scene. After all, it's all storytelling.

----- (From NOVEL SECRETS available in paperback and Kindle form.) 


Lary Crews