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Jan's New Writing Lessons--TRANSITIONS

These lessons, by one of our most consistent FaithWriters' Challenge Champions, should not be missed. So we're making a permanent home for them here.

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Re: Jan's New Writing Lessons--TRANSITIONS

Postby glorybee » Sun Sep 08, 2013 6:46 pm

amilli wrote:Very enlightening. In addition, another transition technique is using a sentence. That is, making the last sentence in the last paragraph a lead (or connecting sentence) into what the next paragraph will be about. Let me give it a shot:

I have truly made some tremendous discoveries since I have visited Jan's Writing Basic on the board index. Some of the skills discussed here I have already been practicing, but great clarifications has been provided as well. Participating in the discussions had also stirred a lot of questions.

One such question that immediately comes to mind is finding out if it's obvious to tell in an article when an author is purposely breaking writing rules by choice? It is advice that writers seek to know the rules but they shouldn't be afraid to break them.

PS: It's an example...but a serious question too! :)


Amilli, I like your example of a transition--you did it very well.

I'm not sure I understand your question, though. If you're asking if the writer should inform her reader that she's going to break some writing rules--absolutely not.

But if you're asking whether it should be obvious to readers that the writer is breaking rules on purpose--that depends. How sophisticated and experienced is the reader? How skilled is the writer? An unsophisticated reader might think, This writer is using sentence fragments, so he is a poor writer. But an astute reader who is reading analytically might think, This writer has used sentence fragments to pick up the pace of her writing.

There are really just too many variables to give your question one simple answer--sorry.

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Re: Jan's New Writing Lessons--TRANSITIONS

Postby amilli » Wed Sep 11, 2013 6:26 pm

:thankssign

I guess it's basically left up to the reader to draw his/her conclusion. However, I believe that a skilled writer may be able to weave a run-on sentence, for example, in a writing piece without raising attention because it flows well.

So my view is this; once the various writing skills are mastered, breaking them should be done so smoothly and tactfully that it doesn't even raise an eye-brow.
Amelia

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Re: Jan's New Writing Lessons--TRANSITIONS

Postby ebrightken » Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:03 pm

What do you think of the transitions in the following story especially the last two paragraphs? How could have I done it better?"

Change your life now!" That's basically what the Lord does through circumstances that are all too real for us. The Lord used a circumstance to scare me into quitting my career job. It's hard for me to share the details of my mistakes, although the Lord showed me that I wasn't keeping him first in my life.

After I left my career, I moved from Marion, Illinois to St Louis and became a courier. A year later, on my way home one night, I was yelling at the Lord. "Why is this happening to me? Do you love me? I didn't move here to drive around this town like a chicken with its head cut off."

He answered a short time later when a tornado blew off a roof of an apartment building nearby my home. I felt the Lord telling me, "Ken, that could have been your apartment."

The Lord yelled at me, but he also showed that he loved me. He wants us to grow in our faith which is why he disciplines us out of his love for us. As a result, I am living my life for him.

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Re: Jan's New Writing Lessons--TRANSITIONS

Postby glorybee » Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:17 pm

ebrightken wrote:What do you think of the transitions in the following story especially the last two paragraphs? How could have I done it better?"

Change your life now!" That's basically what the Lord does through circumstances that are all too real for us. The Lord used a circumstance to scare me into quitting my career job. It's hard for me to share the details of my mistakes, although the Lord showed me that I wasn't keeping him first in my life.

After I left my career, I moved from Marion, Illinois to St Louis and became a courier. A year later, on my way home one night, I was yelling at the Lord. "Why is this happening to me? Do you love me? I didn't move here to drive around this town like a chicken with its head cut off."

He answered a short time later when a tornado blew off a roof of an apartment building nearby my home. I felt the Lord telling me, "Ken, that could have been your apartment."

The Lord yelled at me, but he also showed that he loved me. He wants us to grow in our faith which is why he disciplines us out of his love for us. As a result, I am living my life for him.


Ken, you did a fine job with the transitions here.

In the second paragraph, you use the phrase "After I left my career...", which refers back to the events of the first paragraph.

In the third paragraph, you refer back to your actions of the second paragraph, and you move naturally and chronologically.

In the fourth paragraph, you refer back to the actions of the third paragraph ("The Lord yelled at me...") and then you continue that action one step further ("...but he also showed...")

I have absolutely nothing to criticize here, Ken. Well done with the transitions.

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Re: Jan's New Writing Lessons--TRANSITIONS

Postby Caleb Cheong » Wed Nov 13, 2013 1:34 am

Hi Jan!

I've a burning question to ask you. I hope you don't mind if I go off on a tangent here. What's your view on not using punctuation marks to write a narrative.

We have to get Tim, he told us. Who do we have to get? Tim, we all said. Who do we have to get? He said. Tim, we said again, louder this time.


Sorry for breaking in. :sorry


Regards

Caleb

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Re: Jan's New Writing Lessons--TRANSITIONS

Postby Come forth » Wed Nov 13, 2013 7:20 am

This is a timely lesson for me because I have just written a challenge entry that is very jumbled up. So the task before me is to bring structure and introduce smooth transitions.

And, of course, smooth transition are an important part of structure.

Thanks for the lesson, Graham.
May we all get eyes to see and ears to hear,
A Revelation of His Word, crystal clear.
Admitting our need to be drawn in,
Less of self, more of Him.

My prayer for us all.
God bless us with the Revelation of His Word, Graham
http://www.shekinahcloud.com/page/page/8464330.htm

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Re: Jan's New Writing Lessons--TRANSITIONS

Postby glorybee » Wed Nov 13, 2013 7:53 am

Caleb Cheong wrote:Hi Jan!

I've a burning question to ask you. I hope you don't mind if I go off on a tangent here. What's your view on not using punctuation marks to write a narrative.

We have to get Tim, he told us. Who do we have to get? Tim, we all said. Who do we have to get? He said. Tim, we said again, louder this time.


Sorry for breaking in. :sorry


Regards

Caleb


Caleb, I've seen this done occasionally in contemporary literary fiction. If it's done, it has to be done by a very, very good writer who knows how to break the rules effectively, and who has a good reason for doing so. In your own example (which I realize was just a quick one for illustration), I can't think of any reason to omit quotation marks.

A writer might choose to do so to give their entire MS a "clean" look, or to make it seem somewhat dreamy-looking, apart from reality. I'd think that it would be done on a piece that is solemn and moody.

I have a good friend who has done this occasionally in short stories, and I'll drop her a note and ask her what she believes the absence of quotation marks communicates. Stay tuned for her response.

[Edit--I've spoken to my friend, and she agreed with what I've said here, and added that she might also use quotation mark-less dialog for remembered conversations or inner dialog.]

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Re: Jan's New Writing Lessons--TRANSITIONS

Postby Caleb Cheong » Wed Nov 13, 2013 1:01 pm

Hi Jan!

Thank you very much for answering my question. You've indeed clarified my thoughts and helped me understand such writing style from an experienced editor's point-of-view. I must admit I am still very much a greenhorn in creative writing. May I have a go at the TRANSITIONS homework.


As the guests munched their food, Pete decided to have a chat with some of the residents of Woodlands Home For The Elderly. He had met Mrs Ling, the most senior resident of the home previously but he wasn't sure if she could still remember him. Wheelchair-bound, her pajamas hung loosely over her thin and weak frame. Yet, he discovered that her trembling hands and frail appearance belied her calm voice and very lively mind.

When he hesitantly walked up to her , she surprised him by saying," Come here and sit with me,Pete.' Soon, they had a memorable chat. He discovered that when she was a nurse during Second World War, she was shot in the leg by the enemy. She shared with him many inspiring adventures during the war.Before they knew it, two hours had whizzed by.Pete used to think that old folks were slow and uninteresting but he changed his mind after that day.


Thank you.



Regards

Caleb

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Re: Jan's New Writing Lessons--TRANSITIONS

Postby glorybee » Wed Nov 13, 2013 1:14 pm

Caleb Cheong wrote:As the guests munched their food, Pete decided to have a chat with some of the residents of Woodlands Home For The Elderly. He had met Mrs Ling, the most senior resident of the home previously but he wasn't sure if she could still remember him. Wheelchair-bound, her pajamas hung loosely over her thin and weak frame. Yet, he discovered that her trembling hands and frail appearance belied her calm voice and very lively mind.

When he hesitantly walked up to her , she surprised him by saying," Come here and sit with me,Pete.' Soon, they had a memorable chat. He discovered that when she was a nurse during Second World War, she was shot in the leg by the enemy. She shared with him many inspiring adventures during the war.Before they knew it, two hours had whizzed by.Pete used to think that old folks were slow and uninteresting but he changed his mind after that day.




Caleb, this is fine. The phrase "When he hesitantly walked up to her" provides a sort of bridge between the action of the first paragraph and the action of the second. You've got this, I think.

I do want to mention spacing and punctuation. It could be that some formatting was lost if you cut and pasted these two paragraphs from another program, but if that's not the case, you might want to clean this up a bit. You need one hit of the space bar after periods and commas, and NO hits of the space bar before them. You've got it right for the most part, but there are a few places in the second paragraph where you have either an extra space where it's not needed, or you've left out a space when it WAS needed.

I so much appreciate your contributions to this "class," and your willingness to put your work out here for critique.

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Re: Jan's New Writing Lessons--TRANSITIONS

Postby Caleb Cheong » Wed Nov 13, 2013 2:00 pm

Hi Jan!

Thank you very much for affirming me,and I certainly have some problems with spacing and the use of space bar. The window is pretty small when I try to type out the story or my question. This is the main takeaway for me.


With much appreciation

Caleb

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Jan's New Writing Lessons--TRANSITIONS

Postby lookinup » Fri Apr 15, 2016 4:31 pm

Gasping for breath in the thin air and exhausted from the climb, Charles lay prostrate on the ground. His hands numb from the frigid cold still clung to the branch that had saved his life.

Twisting around to look down upon the direction from which he'd just come, Charles' stomach lurched. Fledgling climbers, waiting for the rope he'd promised to send back down the steep cliff, looked like ants from where he lay.

His reaction to high places, in spite of his having climbed countless times never changed. It was palpable. Yet, in spite of his fear, Charles continued his endeavors. Laying there, he reflected that courage wasn't the absence of fear but acting in the face of it.

Transitions aren't a writing mechanism I'd realized I was weak in until participating in both the Critique and being rated on Challenge pieces. How did I do on this one?

Do you have suggestions on how to use transitions to change POV?

Thanks much!
Catherine - Keep Lookin' Up! :thumbs

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Re: Jan's New Writing Lessons--TRANSITIONS

Postby glorybee » Fri Apr 15, 2016 9:04 pm

lookinup wrote:Gasping for breath in the thin air and exhausted from the climb, Charles lay prostrate on the ground. His hands numb from the frigid cold still clung to the branch that had saved his life. The sentence beginning with 'His hands numb...' is a fragment. Two possible fixes: add the word 'were' after 'hands,' or connect it to the previous sentence with a comma.

Twisting around to look down upon the direction from which he'd just come, Charles' stomach lurched. You have a misplaced modifier here--it's not Charles's stomach that twisted around, but Charles himself. Fledgling climbers, waiting for the rope he'd promised to send back down the steep cliff, looked like ants from where he lay.

His reaction to high places, in spite of his having climbed countless times comma needed here never changed. It was palpable. Yet, in spite of his fear, Charles continued his endeavors. Laying lying there, he reflected that courage wasn't the absence of fear but acting in the face of it.

Your transitions are actually pretty good here--each sentence logically flows from the next. My tweaks were about other grammatical issues, and you might want to check the lessons on those.

One other thing that I want to comment on is the comma after the word 'Yet' in the 3rd paragraph. When I edit, I delete commas after small conjunctions about 95% of the time; in my opinion, they mark one's writing as unpolished. Remember the acrostic FANBOYS for this rule: no commas after

For
And
Nor
But
Or
Yet
So


Transitions aren't a writing mechanism I'd realized I was weak in until participating in both the Critique and being rated on Challenge pieces. How did I do on this one?

Do you have suggestions on how to use transitions to change POV?

Changing POV has its own lesson, new just this week. Check it out!

Thanks much!

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Re: Jan's New Writing Lessons--TRANSITIONS

Postby lookinup » Fri Apr 15, 2016 9:09 pm

Appreciated the input.
Catherine - Keep Lookin' Up! :thumbs

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