When I laid down the outline of the book, I felt like I knew how every scene was supposed to go, and I sort of did. Of all the books and short stories I’ve ever written, this is the project that has had the most detailed outline, going in. But one thing that was missing from the outline was a sense of how the scenes would link up.
Film and television can just jump cut from scene to scene, and we’ve been trained not to notice. Watching the Season 4 finale of Stranger Things the second time around, after I’d read all the classic handbooks on screenwriting, really brought home to me how conditioned today’s audience is to absorb jump cuts without noticing. To create a sense of simultaneity among the four plotlines as everything comes together, they edited that episode so that almost every scene is cut into micro-scenes less than a minute long. In prose fiction, though, if you want to do the equivalent of a jump cut, you need chapter breaks or typographically indicated scene breaks within chapters, and if you do them too often, it knocks the reader out of the waking dream of the story.