Editing the RPG Session
As a game master I struggle with "editing"—cutting to the next scene, compressing the boring stuff into montages, keeping the pace snappy. Often scenes tend to linger long past their welcome, without moving toward any particular resolution.
The problem stems, I think, from a fear of railroading. I don't want to assume that the player characters will or won't move along the path I've laid out with plot hooks. So when it seems time to move the story forward, rather than say, "You head out on the road to the tomb," I'll say, "So, do you want to head out for the tomb, or is there more you want to do in town?" And my players read into this that perhaps there's something they should do in town, perhaps they missed something. While I'm afraid of putting them on a railroad, they're afraid of missing the tracks.
Is there a trick I'm missing, some way of making sure the players know they have options while keeping some power to "edit" out the boring stuff in real time?