These days writers often indicate a transition simply by leaving a blank line (or in manuscripts, three asterisks) between paragraphs, but there are other techniques that can substitute for or strengthen the blank line transition.
• An expression like “today” or “the first time” or “when summer came” can indicate that time has passed.
• A word, concept, or object can appear in one scene and in the next one, but something about it has changed.
• Just a hint of foreshadowing (“I’ll meet you there”) can prepare the reader for the next scene.
• An activity taking place in one scene can be completed at the start of the next scene.
• An evolving emotion in a character can show a change in time or place.
If you want to try out techniques, here’s a few story ideas you can use:
• This is a Hollywood blockbuster in which a terraformer plans to speed her work along by knocking a water-laden comet toward Mars, while someone else wants to aim it somewhere else as a weapon.
• This is a martial arts movie about a sorcerer who accepts the challenge to end a drought caused by a hallucinating mountain spirit.
• This is a magical realism story about someone who feels naked walking down the street while everyone else is wearing the rules of their lives for all to see.
— Sue Burke