How to Write a Montage
Since montage is primarily a film technique, it makes sense to watch a few film montages for inspiration. Notice, in particular, the pacing of film montages. Each shot is just long enough to establish what’s going on, and maybe show something exciting happening; but the shot doesn’t linger too long, and quickly moves on to the next part in the sequence. Similarly, your montage should have:
- A fast pace. Show a single image quickly and then move on. Don’t pay too much attention to any one part.
- Interesting or exciting imagery. Since the images will be moving past in quick succession, it’s important that each one somehow grabs the reader’s or viewer’s attention
- Original imagery. Bear in mind that the pieces of a montage must be original to the piece you are writing; otherwise, it’s a collage rather than a montage (see Related Terms (with examples)).
Other than that, you’re completely free to build your montage out of whatever bits and pieces you think will advance the plot and keep your reader’s/viewer’s attention.
When to Use Montage
Montage is a creative technique appropriate to creative writing and filmmaking. It is especially useful when you’re creating the script for a movie, and need to show a lot of events happening in a short space of time. For example, if a character is taking a long train journey from Paris to Calcutta, you could use a montage of the character sitting on the train and stopping in various cities along the way; this would be more efficient than showing the whole journey, and more interesting than simply skipping over it.