Friday, February 21, 2014

Transitions in Writing



I don't know if I've spoken specifically about transitions as they apply to writing, but I'd like to tackle the subject today.

Not tackling a person running with the football is a little like transitioning from one paragraph to another. There needs to be some connective tissue if you will; something that says to the reader, "Now we're going here, and can't you tell how smooth the journey is?"

Actually, the reader might not be thinking these words at all, but if your transitions are not smooth, they will definitely be thinking, "This is awkward."

Too many missing transitions, too many ball dropping episodes, and you just might lose your reader.

Transitions are a pretty big deal when you consider how transitional words help to ease the flow of your book. 

(Consider the last two short paragraphs. Do they sound like two unconnected thoughts to you? They did to me, so I've added a transitional phrase. The phrase is bolded below).

Too many missing transitions, too many ball dropping episodes, and you just might lose your reader. And losing your reader is a pretty big deal when you consider how transitional words help to ease the flow of your book.

I love the transitional words mentioned at Kim's Korner for Teacher Talk. These words can help you with your transitions. But transitional words shouldn't be the only way you keep your reader, reading.

Sometimes, rather than using a transition to take the reader from one scene to another, it's preferable to end the scene and start a new chapter or new beginning scene within the chapter. When I decide to begin a new scene within a chapter I will use *** asterisks to signify that the scene is changing.

Because you don't need to include every scene in the main character's life, only those scenes that contribute to the overall theme of the book, it's a good idea to check your transitions from time to time. Sometimes, even great transitions can take the reader off the beaten track, so far off, that they feel as if they're reading an entirely different book.

Who wants that?



So keep your focus. If you find that you've just dropped the ball or missed the basket, back track in your reading until you find the place where that old ball is stuck; and get it to your goal.





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