Sunday, February 1, 2015

And then: writing transitions

I know how to make transitions from one chapter to another. What I need to work on is making scene transitions within a chapter. I'm familiar with the '***' technique -- and I'm sure I've used it too much and too little.

Thankfully, I found the article Mastering Scene Transitions. Editor Beth Hill's advice includes...
Never change POV within a paragraph
Transitions can be short (two words. i.e. And then...)
They can be as long as a couple of paragraphs (But Ms. Hill cautions against anything longer.)
[N]arration is quite useful for transitions

And then How to Write Great Transition Scenes (written by Agent X) advises to eliminate the mundane and stick with the story. In order to do this it's important to figure out what is important to your story and why. For example, it is really necessary for your reader to know that your character got a haircut?
Advise:   '[s]tart just before the point you know something good is going to happen.'

Edan Lepucki writes 'Fluidity is what I long for, anyway, when I'm working; I want to feel like I'm "inside" of my own text, participating in its unfolding in a way that is intuitive, natural, and enjoyable. Being overly conscious of transitions gives me a distancing, jerky feeling that is the opposite of fluid.'
Ms. Lepucki goes on to examine how transitions are handled in books she's recently enjoyed.
Advise:  '[S]pace breaks can provide a useful exhale before you transition to a new time frame or narrative register.'
Don't use transitions to substitute for scenes that are too difficult to write.
'If you're ever stuck in a scene, I suggest opening a favorite book, and seeing how the writer handles the problem.'
Ms. Lepucki ends her article with, 'Transitions might be the problem, or they might just be the symptom of a problem.'

Meaning: you may be having trouble transiting from scene to scene because you're not "in" your story or you haven't "investigated" your story enough or you're trying to avoid writing the difficult scene.

These articles have helped me. I hope they helped you. Do you have anything to add? Please leave a comment.

Next Monday:  Devotion -- the poem my husband inspired, and the story behind it.

Sharing my author journey...

I'm so busy I can hardly stand still -- preparing submissions, and dreaming of the 'what if'. 
It's an exciting place to be. And I'm very lucky to have friends to help.
Last Wednesday I took an afternoon and visited with two authors. It was fun to learn about each others "writerly" ways. 
Pam Withers
Amber Harvey
Last Friday I shared an afternoon with a friend. She's a visual artist. If you don't know her work, you should.
Terrill Welch.
There's nothing better then recharging your batteries with those who know the muse.
And, now, please excuse while I roll up my sleeves, click my pen and go back to work on those submissions.
Ah, life is good. : )


Laurie Buchanan said...

Leanne - It bears're a great resource for writers. Thank you!

Leanne Dyck said...

: ) Thank you, Laurie.

Anonymous said...

I'm soooo far behind this year, Leanne.

Thank you for this post about transitions. Excellent sources and lots of help.

Leanne Dyck said...

That's the beauty of blogging. It's never too late to leave a comment. Thank you for leaving yours. Happy to hear this post was helpful.