For the Blogging From A to Z Challenge I’m doing you all a huge favor and filling you in on the 26 Things To Hate About Writing.** I’m hoping by the end of April, I will have convinced all of you not to indulge in the wild insanity of becoming a writer. If I can save even one person from offering themselves up in sacrifice to the mad and fickle word gods, I will have done some good in this world.
So you’re writing a book, and it starts off in the rural countryside in the mid-1700’s, then it jumps to the year 2065 in a colony on Mars. Sure, why not? Things change, characters grow. But how do you get from pre-industrial revolution to Mars? It’s very messy and sticky and complicated, so it’s best just to write A FEW YEARS LATER at the start of the next chapter and begin on Mars.
No? One of the worst things about writing is creating adequate transitions, that don’t jump too far ahead without providing the necessary information to make the transition smooth. It can jar the reader to do otherwise, even if the description of your book says, “From his humble beginnings as a farmhand in 1700’s rural America to his journey into space centuries later…” I mean that’s cool and all, but how did it happen? Here’s why transitions are hard and suck:
– Important details need to be addressed. You can’t always gloss over chunks of time. It’s important to know your space-cadet farmer also became a vampire at some point, that’s why he lived so long.
– There’s lots of ways to create transitions: chapter breaks, time jumps, outright statements like “a few hours later,” or by making the transition obvious by showing your character has aged or changed their underwear. It takes creativity and just a smidge of frustration.
– If your transitions are too difficult to create, maybe you started the story in the wrong place. Maybe it’s not important that your Mars vampire used to work on a farm in the 1700’s. Just tell us about that in a dream sequence, because everybody loves a dream sequence.
Smooth transitions move the story along at an interesting and satisfying pace. They help jump over unimportant details that would bog the story down. They make reading a delight, because we all wish we could skip the boring parts of life like showering and work and go right to the bar to play pinball.
A FEW MINUTES LATER…
I still hate writing.
**Disclaimer: If you haven’t figured it out, these posts are pure satire and simply a humorous way to vent my writing frustrations. No offense is intended to anyone. Please, become or continue being a writer. It’s awesome, I swear. It’s super…duper, awesome…heh heh.