or another lesson learned from films. Film critic David Thomson, as cited in Ben Yagoda’s The Sound on the Page:
Montage to me is one of the most fascinating areas of theory and practice. One of the few profound things that happened to me at film school was when we had someone talk to us about Russian editing. He put two objects on a table and asked, “How are these objects related?” Then he said, “I challenge you to find any two objects that I can’t relate.” The mind leaps to associate things. It’s so inventive. That is the beginning of the theory of montage. In writing, you can throw an odd or invented word in a sentence, or an unexpected sentence in a paragraph, or make an abrupt end to a chapter, and the reader will say, “Why did he do that?” The good readers, anyway. And then they’ll start thinking. I love that question.
This seems to work best in going from one sentence to another. A conventional opening might say, “It was the year so and so, and such and such was happening.” And then you suddenly say something that was also happening in that year, something totally unexpected but that gives a sense of the context. The nature of the cut teaches the reader to look for those cuts in the future. If you start to do something odd with sentence form, like not having a main verb, readers will start to get used to that. They might not like it, but they’ll get used to it. You can guide people how to read your book.
I love that question, too.