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Monday, April 9, 2012

Starting your novel: Transitions

A question popped up in my e-mail today and I thought it was a great topic to address because I wandered about this myself and it isn't a no brainer.

So the question basically was...Is it OK to start your chapter at a certain time and place and then in the next chapter to transition on forward how ever.

So first of all, what are transitions? Let me start with a definition:  A transition in a book or story is pretty much any passage or device that bridges moments of discontinuity in our writing.  Changes in time, changes in setting, changes in point of view character, even changes in mood. 

This person that asked the question is talking about time transitions. And I have to say, it really depends. I think that transitions can be done well, and they can be done really badly. It really does depends so this is what I think. The huge dependency of this topic is the transition amount or area. So if you do do a transition it would be very annoying for me personally to start reading about a sixteen year old and then in the next chapter he's fifty. That would be the throw the book at the wall moment! Especially if I liked the character from the start and looked forward to reading about a teenager. But hey, if you are doing something like: Two years later...Or even a month later...Or maybe tomorrow...It can be done really well. I've seen it done well. I''ve enjoyed books that have in fact transitioned at the start, but at the same time, you are risking that flawless start in the very first chapters where you are just engaging the readers so...It is something of preference. Writing is in fact majorly based on opinion.

What do you think?

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