I was working on a story for practice; I have been putting it off for some time. I am extremely new to writing and honestly need to read more. I personally tend to think more like a movie camera, so I try to focus on what I think is most important.

For the initial chapter, I would like to quickly jump between two characters as things happen about the same time and it flows together. The culmination would be those two characters passing each other through the hall on their way to their workplaces, but each still unknown to the other.

The idea is that the second character arrives in the lobby of the space station. I then want to immediately jump to him in his apartment readying to leave for his new job. To keep pace and cut out unnecessary-fluff.

Unnecessarily, Necessarily long Quote:

A crackling uhh crept from Johnathan Peli’s throat as he stared distantly at the corner of his face—the only smooth place—as he labouriously dragged the razor across his contorted face. A second stroke next thereto, and he flicked the razor down into the sink, and a splatter of liquid drizzling from the air vent behind him blended in with the splattering of the shaving cream in the sinksbottom. Alarmed, he perked up and his heart sank deep into his chest, as he slowly looked in the upper-right corner of the mirror and saw the vent behind the last stall of the bathroom.

The cheap, plastic razor tinkt against the porcelain in dull, sharp sort of sound, as he turned around and slowly crept toward the vent. The low-thumping of his chest drowned out all sound as stood adjacent under the vent, watching as a thick-water oozed down quickly, slimily, from the vent. His dry-ish gulp popped his ears, bloating his gut as he squinted at the vent-face, noticing condensation formulated on the ouside. An un-Godly hiss let from the vent and the water dripped faster as wind began to blow out, cooling his face uncomfortably.

John pressed hard his hand against his tense-chest as the dripping slowly subsided and he turned-face back. Slowly, distantly, his widened pupils stared at the grey whiskers wash down the sink. Hypnotized, he forgot more completely he was running late for work, a few halls and an elevator or two, as usual.


“Welcome to Future’s Hope research facility,” the timely voice chimed over the automated PA system, as the shuttle-car’s doors opened.

The children noised much as their parents tried to quick-grab their hands, in a perfect, hearty-awe of the sheer-splendour, staring up at the seemingly-endless spiral of white platforms and green planters hanging off the edges, of the massive-lobby of Pod 6—a massive central-nexus from which spanned-off clubs, and shops, and into which, led bays from which the civilian transport crafts could safely dock and release new-arrivals. But at the base of the center was a massive, colour-lit fountain, and above, a massive holographic projection of the company logo, spinning and flashing.

Jason Richards waited in line, holding tight the hand of Billy, his four-year-old son, with his other arm around his wife, holding her close; his heart sorrowing over weight of moving and unsurety of his new job. Billy stared up in amaze at the long, green vines spilling from the planters, and purple and pink lights shining through the flowing streams of water from the planters and ceiling of the lobby.

“Welcome to the Future’s Hope Research Facility,” the receptionist, a young-blonde, greeted as she adjusted her small blue hat. “Name please.”

“J- Jason. My name is Jason Richards; I work in Bio—flora and fauna of alien worlds.”

She repeated his name quietly to herself as she flicked her finger up on the screen of her terminal, “Ahh, Jason R. Richards, there you are.” Jokingly, she said, “Many Jasons, but you are the only Richards, sir,” smiling. She nodded as she handed him his map, “You’ll be working in the central pod on the bio-floor. Your apartment and work location are marked on your map, including a recommended, shortest-route that also has marked a cafeteria and restroom along the way, for your convenience. Thank you and please enjoy your stay.”


Some junk I haven't written yet, ideally about an hour or so of them arrived at their apartment.

  • I edited your description in a way that I hope makes the question clearer, though it pretty much wanders all over the place. I did not edit your example text, even though it has numerous errors. You're really asking two questions here: 1) How to depict two characters who don't know each other yet doing things in different places at the same time. 2) How to use flashbacks within a scene. Pick one Feb 4, 2019 at 17:30
  • I wasn't asking for flashback--I know how to do that. Feb 4, 2019 at 19:50
  • 1
    Except you gave an example of a flashback within a scene. "The idea is that the second character arrives in the lobby of the space station. I then want to immediately jump to him in his apartment readying to leave for his new job." And that's the last paragraph of your question (before your quote). Feb 4, 2019 at 20:54
  • That would be a time skip? Feb 6, 2019 at 0:36
  • A time skip goes forward. Re-reading your question I see that maybe "arriving in the lobby" wasn't the "arriving at his first day of work" I saw it as but rather "arriving in his new home, so he can start work the next day." Feb 6, 2019 at 0:38

2 Answers 2


Keep in mind that cinema and novels are two completely different media, and deserve their own techniques and rhythms. Quick cuts are easy to do with visual cues, but harder to pull off when everything must be created in the reader's mind. However, if you're determined to do this, a few small things can help.

For your simultaneous scenes, first clearly establish they are taking place at the same time --you can tell the reader this directly. After that, the reader will assume they are unfolding simultaneously. However, it will still be taxing to jump back and forth too rapidly.

For your transitions, just a short additional sentence fragment can do the trick. "Later, back at his apartment..."


The idea is that the second character, he arrives at the space station, is in the lobby, and then I want to immediately jump to him in his apartment and readying to leave for his initial place of his new work. To keep pace and cut out unnecessary-fluff.

If I understand you correctly, you would like to show two things happening at the same time but with different characters. Correct?
If this is the case (and feel free to correct me if I'm wrong and I'll edit this answer accordingly), I would add an anchor event in the world to allow the reader to understand what he just read is happening at the same time as a previous chapter. For example, add a news report happening in the background and then make sure the other character is also aware of it in some form. that way if I read your story, I would understand, "oh, this happens at the same time as X happening."

A good example is George R.R. Martin's "A Dance with Dragons". Most of it is happening outside of Westeros at the same time as the events of book four. You can see evidence to that in bits of news that's coming from Westeros across the book.

  • I have that planned; taking a cue from was it the Blue Shift expansion for Half Life, "Dr. Freeman, we need you in the testing lab;" I was thinking of calling the first person over the inner-comm. The first event is actually about an hour after the second, but I think is more mysterious. Feb 4, 2019 at 14:14

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