Transitions


My district ‘transitioned’ this year from a three-year high school to a four-year. This means as a ninth grade teacher my job moved to the high school. We knew this would be complicated as any massive change is. For many of us, it meant a painful pay cut because of supplemental contracts  lost in the move. It has meant tremendous adjustments for everyone; teachers, administrators, students, parents.  This will be an ongoing challenge for the district. What does it have to do with writing?

Transitions are vital in writing and just as challenging. How well a writer does at moving the reader through a story will make a big difference in how successful it is. These shifts must serve a purpose. For our district, the reason was serious overcrowding. Each time a writer decides to transition in a story, she needs to first evaluate the purpose. Are you transitioning from one scene to another, from one chapter to another? Is it action or emotion? Do you want a chapter break in the middle of a scene? This kind of stark break can serve a specific purpose. Maybe you want a subtle transition from one scene to the next and an extra space from one to the next will give you that.

Perhaps a paragraph of narration that offers a hint of back story in the form of mystery will transition beautifully. Maybe action will be better? It’s your story to tell so you decide. But make sure you are asking yourself what best serves the interests of the story and the characters.

What are transitions like for you? Do find them easy to write or are they difficult to navigate?

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