Saturday, August 24, 2013

7 Ways to Achieve Smooth Scene Transitions

            Transitions help the reader to move smoothly from scene to scene. Transitions are especially needed when certain changes are made. One change is that of place. Another is time. Still another is viewpoint.
            There is nothing wrong with simply telling what the change is.  However, if you want to add an interesting touch, link the scenes by introducing something at the end of one scene that is repeated or referred to at the beginning of the next scene.
            Here are some links you might use:
            1. Emotion. One scene ends with a character expressing a particular emotion. The next scene opens with the same emotion.
            Mary walked out the door, laughing at Sam’s joke.
            She was still laughing when they arrived at the beach.
            2. An object.
            Sue read the letter for a second time.
            She was still clutching the letter when the police arrived.
            3. The weather.
            As David left for work that morning, the rain was just beginning.
            When he arrived at his office, he could barely see through the windshield.
            4. A name.
            The personnel director told Joan her boss would be Ms. Marshall.
            Ms. Marshall turned out to be even more formidable than Joan had expected.
            5. A sound.
            When the party was underway, Lorene could barely hear her TV over the noise.
            By the time she was ready for bed, the roar of the crowd was deafening.
            6. A place.
            “Be careful in Madrid,” Jocelyn warned.
            When she reached Madrid, Darlene immediately got lost trying to find the hotel.
            7. A question. One scene ends with a question that is answered at the beginning of the next scene:
            Would they find something to eat at the beach? Mary wondered as she and Sam walked out the door.
            The first thing Mary saw when they arrived was a hotdog stand, but she hated hotdogs.
            Examine your scenes to see how your characters move from place to place, from time to time, from viewpoint to viewpoint. Can you use any of the links above to add interest to the transition?   

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Watercolor copyright
by Linda Hope Lee


     To use the setting to link your series books together, choose various aspects of the setting and repeat them in each book. Readers will enjoy revisiting familiar places along with the characters. Showing how the characters respond to the various setting elements will enrich the story.
     Here are some examples from my Red Rock, Colorado series.
     The TransAmerica Railroad. The train plays an important role in each story. In book 1, Finding Sara, the train provides a means for Sara Carleton to escape an intolerable home situation. 
     For Rose Phillips in book 2, Loving Rose, the train is her livelihood, for she is TransAmerica's quality control manager.
     And, in Marrying Molly, book 3, the train brings Molly Hensen and her daughter back to Red Rock after a two-year absence.
     The Roundup Restaurant. Red Rock's popular eatery is featured in all three books. In Finding Sara, Jackson Phillips takes Sara to the Roundup after she's undergone a nerve-wracking interview at the police station. He hopes the homey, casual atmosphere will help her to relax, but she surprises him with a startling announcement.
     In book 2, Dr. Mike Mahoney is dining alone at the Roundup when someone confronts him and reveals a shocking secret about Rose, the woman he loves.
     For Molly in book 3, visiting the Roundup evokes bittersweet memories of the times she and her husband, Buck, had eaten there.
     The weeping willow tree. In the front yard of Jackson's ranch house stands a tall weeping willow tree. Propped against the tree's trunk is an old, weathered wagon wheel. To help her relax, Sara sits on the ranch house's front porch watching the tree's long branches brush the top of the wheel in the soft breeze.
     Loving Rose has a tense scene between Mike and Rose as they sit on the front porch. Like Sara, Rose calms her emotions by focusing on the tree and a robin as it perches on the wagon wheel.
     When Molly first returns to the ranch, the weeping willow catches her eye, bringing waves of nostalgia.
     These are only a few of the setting elements I have incorporated in all three books. Other elements include: a Denver hotel, the Rocky Mountains, a duck pond on the Phillips' ranch, and the grange hall.
     You might want to check out another of my blogs on series writing, Developing the Characters.