What are corridor scenes in novels used for? Usually, most novels don't continuously follow a characters for more than 1-2 chapters, but what if you did that for 10 chapters in a row and included scenes where the characters just walk through a corridor, does that make sense? If not, when should you have corridor scenes?

Let's say you have several scenes and they are as follow:

Room1 (10-300 second time gap)

Corridor1 (10-300 second time gap)

Corridor2 (10-300 second time gap)

Corridor3 (10-300 second time gap)

Room2 (10-300 second time gap)

Corridor1 (10-300 second time gap)

Corridor2 (10-300 second time gap)

Should you remove all corridor scenes? What should you do with them and when does it make sense to add a corridor scene? I was reading something I wrote and because of corridor scenes there's no big time gap between the scenes, but it makes things clunky for some reason.

  • 2
    I don't commonly see this format as such. Pleas include links to your sources or explanations of exactly what you mean.
    – DWKraus
    Commented Aug 25, 2021 at 22:23
  • 1
    I see this a lot in TV series and films (most famously Aaron Sorkin's "walk and talks") but am having trouble relating it to novels. Is it basically the same thing?
    – Stuart F
    Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 10:06

3 Answers 3


Corridor scenes serve basically the same purpose as other traveling scenes, and much the same purpose as scenes set anywhere else.

If two or three characters are on their way to a place where action is anticipated, and are having a conversation which foreshadows something which will happen there or otherwise moves the plot forward, why not have that scene in a corridor?

People walking together, or meeting in a corridor, is a good excuse to set up an exchange between characters which has a natural beginning and end. (Somebody gets where they were going, and you don't have to come up with a different reason for the scene to break up.) Two people can be alone together, without it being private or intimate, and without it seeming suspicious or contrived.

There's all kinds of reasons for setting a scene in a corridor. And that's leaving aside the Action stories where the goal is a thing in a room (hostage, macguffin, etc), and the fight scenes themselves are naturally set in corridors leading to that room.


I would add that corridor scenes can also be used in a single character narrative to build suspense, especially if there is something notably wrong, from the point of view of the character, with said corridor. Similarly if there is an existing sense of urgency staying with the corridor increases tension as the reader hurries to the conclusion of their journey but still isn't there.


I'm not finding "corridor scene" as a trope, so this answer will take the term more literally.

More generally, "traveling scenes" aka "carriage scenes" in written fiction are good places for expositional dialogue; two people sitting in a car (or in a horse-drawn carriage or walking down a hallway) is a natural setting for them to have a conversation, through which the reader can gain information that may be clunky to reveal some other way.

More specifically, a "corridor scene", as in literally a setting where people are walking through a connecting corridor, can be the backdrop for just about anything you need to happen in the story, from a friendly conversation between two people going the same way, to a bomb crashing through the ceiling.

I note your rather limiting use of the term "scene", as being a fixed physical location (one hallway in a series of connecting spaces). As in my first example, two people in a car aren't necessarily changing "scenes" as the car moves, unless what's outside the car in a particular location becomes important to the story. Case in point, if the overall POV doesn't change - the narration is describing the same characters within the same general area through a continuous timeline - then most readers wouldn't consider each left or right turn into a new hallway a new "scene", unless you took pains to impress on the reader that Corridor 1, Corridor 2 and Corridor 3 are extremely different environments, and/or that they're so long/large that you have to introduce significant time cuts to make the story flow.

On that last point, even though you mention time cuts between the corridors, remember that you don't have to narrate every second of the story (and in fact that's a common trap). Without really breaking the scene, you can take a sentence or short paragraph to say they continued down the hall for 10 seconds and nothing really interesting happened, until they turned the corner and found themselves faced with...

As for:

Usually, most novels don't continuously follow a characters for more than 1-2 chapters

I disagree. That is common if not universal in first-person narrative voice (e.g. Hunger Games series; an entire trilogy strictly narrated from the POV of Katniss Everdeen) and it's more the exception than the rule to see a book in this voice change the voice you're hearing as you read (e.g. Twilight: Breaking Dawn, which switches over from Bella's to Jacob's POV for the middle act).

Even in third-person narrative form, the narrative will typically follow the character who's furthering the plot in the most engaging way. That can, very plausibly, be one guy and/or the people around him for the overwhelming majority of "page time". You can use "cutaways" to other characters' POVs to show/hint at things the main character can't see at the time the reader needs to hear about it, but it's not bad practice at all to tell an entire story from over the shoulder of your protagonist.

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