Getting from Here to There
Transitions. From the time we began writing in elementary school, we’ve been taught to make sure we had an introduction, a conclusion, and transitions. Blah, blah, blah.
It’s such an institutional-sounding word. But to be fair, transitions are important. They help the reader follow what in the world we were thinking of when we wrote whatever it is we wrote.
In non-fiction, transitions can give our text, well, context. For instance, after expounding the merits of women leaders in a preceding paragraph, we can’t just jump into “Quality of time spent with a child is, in the end, more significant than the number of hours.” Huh!? One little sentence or two like “One of the fears we have about women in leadership positions is their (in)ability to provide a stable and loving environment for their children. However, in fact . . .” can help readers cross the bridge of text with us.
Not that all women have children. Or that dads can’t help. Save your comments. But do remember to make connections for your readers.
Fiction can be a little trickier. While it’s nice to jump from the couple on the couch drinking wine to the scary guy tapping on the window outside, letting the readers vicariously experience the shock and fear of the moment, it doesn’t hurt to give them just a little forewarning. Because irl, our first reaction when we do hear a noise is confusion. What did we hear? We look at each other, maybe over the poised wine glasses, then realize it’s outside the window and it’s SOMEBODY.
Just remember to fill in those little connections between the train cars.