For those struggling to understand strong scene-framing techniques like pemerton's, looking at this passage is key: The fundamental technique involves taking control of the PCs, railroading them through decision points "off-screen", and then continuing the action at the point where you've delivered them to a place of excitement/interest.
Pemerton and S'mon seem to be advocating an open handling of the scene itself, but other practitioners will actually go even further and frame the scene so that its purpose is to reach a specific outcome. In either case, once the outcome of the scene has been determined the railroading/framing happens again and the next scene begins.
The reason this is confusing for a lot of people is that:
(1) Pemerton confuses the issue significantly by also applying the term "scene-framing" to a number of completely unrelated techniques (particularly the "if a player asks if something is present, say yes" narrative sharing technique that dates back to Feng Shui).
(2) Scene-framing is really more of a continuum of pacing techniques coupled to motivation. So most people respond to discussions like this by saying, "Doesn't everybody do that?" Because, actually, everybody does it.
At one end of this continuum you have a pure, old school dungeoncrawl: There is no time-skipping. Essentially every single action is catalogued.
Once people get out of the dungeon, though, the GM quickly realizes that this technique doesn't work. That's where you get interactions that look like this:
GM: You're at the city gate. Whaddya wanna do?
Player: We go to the Tavern of the Lonely Wench.
GM: You're at the tavern.
Whoa. What just happened? We skipped over a whole bunch of stuff and -- bam! -- framed a new scene at the tavern.
In this middle-range of scene-framing, the GM is mainly looking to skip to the next meaningful decision point. The exact route by which the PCs went to the Tavern of the Lonely Wench isn't a meaningful decision, so we skip it.
At this level of scene-framing, the main consideration for the DM is: "Does anything interrupt the stated intention of the PCs?" For example, do they get ambushed on their way to the Lonely Wench. Or run into an old friend. Or have an opportunity to pick a pocket. Or see someone being press ganged into the Imperial Navy. And this is where motivation comes in: Do you determine interrupting events using a random table of simulated events? To key the next plot arc? Because you prepped a timeline? Whim? Because you want to activate a tag on one of the PCs?
As we begin moving further up the scene-framing continuum, what basically happens is that the threshold of interest required to frame the next beat is cranked up. Here's a slight example of that:
GM: You're at the city gate. Whaddya wanna do?
Player: We go looking for a tavern.
GM: Okay, you're in the Tavern of the Lonely Wench.
Spot the difference? The GM decided that the decision of which tavern they want to go to is irrelevant, so he skipped it, picked the tavern for them, and started the next scene. If he'd decided not to frame the scene quite so hard, he could have asked, "You want an upscale joint or a down-scale joint?" Or maybe offered them a selection of specific taverns and allowed them to choose.
The harder you frame, the higher the level of required interest needs to be before we stop fast-forwarding, and the more decisions get skipped. For example, maybe the GM decides that the tavern is completely boring and instead we get:
GM: You're at the city gate.
Player: We go looking for the tavern.
GM: You party long and hard into the night, so you're still a little hung-over the next morning when you're shopping for supplies at Dink's store and spot a shoplifter slipping a gold watch into his pocket.
And we can keep cranking:
Player: Okay, we're done here. We head back to town.
GM: Okay. It's two weeks later and you're shopping for supplies at Dink's store. You spot a shoplifter slipping a gold watch into his pocket. You shout, "STOP THIEF!" and he starts running for the door. Whaddya do?
And the more you crank it up, the larger the influence of the GM's motivations becomes. You'll also tend to see a decrease in even bothering to ask the players what they want to do next, because it will generally be irrelevant and over-ridden.
What also tends to happen at this point is that the game or GM will start introducing more STG / narrative control mechanics or techniques: The GM is taking so much control away from the players that it's necessary to compensate by giving them back control in other ways.
Of course, in actual practice GMs will vary the pace of their scene-framing considerably depending on context and circumstance.
Well, I can't speak for Pemerton, but maybe he considers all of those to be elements necessary to his form of scene framing. It isn't a matter of confusion as it is just a matter of definition. Maybe he could crack that open, but its not up to me. Its an interesting question anyway.
I think there is a continuum, sure. Your examples of different levels of abstraction in plot and narrative are some examples, but there are also examples of degree of before-hand setup vs dynamic scene framing too, which maybe is more interesting. I mean, sure the DM skipping a day or a week of mundane time is different from skipping 5 minutes, and you can dictate the narrative more or less, but at some point you come to decision points. Its more a question of how much does the DM railroad and how much does he put the choices in the player's hands, and how much of what happens was set up ahead of time and how much was framed in dynamically.
I'm not sure that the DM's influence is REALLY bigger though. Obviously a DM can just play railroady puppet-master, but if the choice of tavern really isn't relevant, nor what happens there interesting in a plot sense then the DM isn't particularly railroading, any more than he would be if he assumes that when you open a door you use the doorknob in a dungeon. PCs stay at taverns. If all taverns happen to be basically equal then its a detail that can be skipped. NOW, if the players want to jump in and change the narrative, sure they could in theory use some sort of plot coupon device to do that. OTOH there's nothing wrong with the D&D approach either, which would generally just be for the player to break in and state that they want some additional information or have some action to interject. The former approach makes it explicitly a part of the game, the later approach is more a table contract thing, but either one will generally work OK.
Anyway, its an interesting topic. IME the DM and players usually collaborate on how abstract they make this kind of thing. The DM may decide to leap ahead and the players may or may not go with that. Sometimes the players want to jump ahead (often for instance if they are traveling) and the DM will either go along with it or interject something. USUALLY most players seem used to making most basic choices, and most DMs seem to hit a comfortable level of maximum abstraction. Pemerton is of course obviously taking a more active control of that process. Its not NEW in any true sense, but the way he does it seems fairly artful to me.