There is an old screenwriting trick that works just as well for novels and short stories. It’s a great way to keep your scenes moving, giving your work that page-turning urgency that keeps the agents, editors or producers reading.
It’s called Enter Late/Leave Early.
When writing a scene, rather than start at the “beginning,” try entering the scene late — coming in after events are already in motion. Then make sure you get out of there before said events have concluded.
John and Mary decide to go for a jog. Instead of cutting to the two of them throwing on their jogging shorts, pulling on their running shoes, and hitting the road, we cut straight to John and Mary running side by side, in the middle of a conversation.
Then, once the point of the scene has been made, we cut away from them — BEFORE they finish their jog or their conversation. And to compel the reader forward, it often helps to use a line of dialogue or prose that’s a springboard into the next scene.
Brevity is extremely important in screenplays and short stories, but it’s important in novels as well. That last thing you want to do is bore your reader and, while novels give you more room to explore character motivation, background and feelings, it’s important to keep things moving.
Any good story should have rhythm, aided by the ebb and flow of your scenes. And ELLE is one way to maintain that rhythm.
Get in, make your point, then get the hell out.