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Transitions

Switch Blayde
Updated:

I'm reading a story that is well written. It has some head hopping, but that's not the purpose of this thread. There's one thing he does (or doesn't do) that's a blotch on such a well written story. It has to do with transitions. For example, he wrote:


"Would you like me to come with you?"

"Thanks, but it's not needed. Let's just get to class."

"You're late. Detention, both of you."


There is absolutely no transition to them entering the classroom. They're walking towards it and then all of a sudden the teacher is reprimanding them.

Authors, pay attention to your transitions.

***
(as an aside, I wanted to use blockquote to quote from the story, but the forum doesn't permit that so I had to use the quote. So it looks like I'm replying to a previous post, but I'm not. It would be nice to be able to use blockquote here.)

Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

Also, it's unclear who said the last dialogue - the teacher, a hall monitor, a security guard at the door??

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Dominion's Son

@Switch Blayde

What story / chapter? I'd like to take a look at it myself.

You seem to be leaving something out as none of the dialog has any indication of who is speaking, which in my mind does not comport with your statement that it is well written.

I wont always write everything between point a and point be, but I usually put a scene break (---) between and some indication as to where the next scene is picking up

I would do this as something like

"Would you like me to come with you?"

"Thanks, but it's not needed. Let's just get to class."

---

As they walked into class, their [insert subject] teacher said, "You're late. Detention, both of you."

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

Also, it's unclear who said the last dialogue - the teacher, a hall monitor, a security guard at the door??


That's part of the transition that's missing.

Switch Blayde

@Dominion's Son

What story / chapter? I'd like to take a look at it myself.


"The Man of Sin" Chapter 1.

You seem to be leaving something out as none of the dialog has any indication of who is speaking, which in my mind does not comport with your statement that it is well written.


That's a problem with quoting a piece of the story. In the story, it's clear who's speaking (until we get to the teacher).

As they walked into class, their [insert subject] teacher said, "You're late. Detention, both of you."


Yes, that's a good transition. The point of the thread wasn't to criticize the author. As I said, so far it's well written. It's a reminder to authors. It's so easy not to realize the reader doesn't know what's in your (the author's) head.

Joe_Bondi_Beach
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

I don't see the lack of an explicit transition as a problem. Wouldn't hurt to have something between the second and third lines, sure, but I assume we know who they are and where they are from earlier context (of course, "let's get to class" and "detention" are pretty good indicators that it's high school), so the author is moving us along quickly but I don't find it hard to follow.

And what follows the three lines could easily clarify any confusion-the two look at each other and then at the teacher and shrug, or something along those lines.

Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

@Switch Blayde

(as an aside, I wanted to use blockquote to quote from the story, but the forum doesn't permit that so I had to use the quote. So it looks like I'm replying to a previous post, but I'm not. It would be nice to be able to use blockquote here.)


the { quote } tag gets converted to blockquote. You want two different kinds of blockquote?

If your post is a reply to a forum message, it will always have the '@' link to the post you're replying to.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Crumbly Writer

@Joe_Bondi_Beach

I don't see the lack of an explicit transition as a problem. Wouldn't hurt to have something between the second and third lines, sure, but I assume we know who they are and where they are from earlier context (of course, "let's get to class" and "detention" are pretty good indicators that it's high school), so the author is moving us along quickly but I don't find it hard to follow.

Joe, the point is the author didn't transition from one scene (in the hallway) to the next (inside the classroom). He also (I'm assuming) didn't introduce the character who's speaking. (Note: I'll often start a scene/chapter with an unattributed person speaking, but that's to establish the mood of the scene, and I typically establish who's in the scene in the next few lines.)

It's not enough of a scene change to warren a section break, but it's enough to disorient the reader.

Lazeez, I agree with Switch. I understand why you build them both using the same model, but when you see the indented gray box, you think 'it's a quote from a previous message'. If we could do an unattributed block quote (say that wasn't colored gray), it would make it easier to note it's not from another speaker.

Switch, I'd suggest when you quote from a story, that you put in the '@' link to the story, so readers can identify where it comes from and check it out if they have questions.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Switch Blayde

@Lazeez Jiddan (Webmaster)

the { quote } tag gets converted to blockquote. You want two different kinds of blockquote?


Blockquote doesn't convert the quoted passage into italics. When the quoted passage has italics in it, as in a character's thoughts, that makes it confusing.

Switch Blayde

@Joe_Bondi_Beach

I don't see the lack of an explicit transition as a problem.


Evidently either does the author. As I'm reading more I'm finding he does it a lot. He gives an unexpected dialogue followed by the transition. As a reader, I get lost until I read the next few lines. That's too late.

I think he's doing it for impact or surprise or something. For me, it doesn't work. It's jolting to have him drop that out of the blue only to explain it afterwards.

This is a good discussion which is the reason I started the thread.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

I agree with Switch. I understand why you build them both using the same model, but when you see the indented gray box, you think 'it's a quote from a previous message'. If we could do an unattributed block quote (say that wasn't colored gray), it would make it easier to note it's not from another speaker.


I handle that aspect by typing "quote" before where I paste in the quoted text and "end quote" after it - it's clear and doesn't cause any confusion when I bring something in from outside the thread.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I think he's doing it for impact or surprise or something. For me, it doesn't work. It's jolting to have him drop that out of the blue only to explain it afterwards.

You should drop him a line and let him know how it affects you as a reader. He may still be experimenting with a new technique.

Chris Podhola

@Switch Blayde

"Would you like me to come with you?"

"Thanks, but it's not needed. Let's just get to class."

"You're late. Detention, both of you."

Ouch...

Now there's a good example of an author who doesn't put enough effort into editing. lol

richardshagrin

@Chris Podhola

Not all authors read the Forum or the Author Hangout. Some that do, don't care. Maybe some want their text to be tight and not have spaces at the end of the chapter that cost another page.

Maybe this author who doesn't know the importance of Editing, or doesn't know one or how to find one. Or would rather write more stories than mess with ones he or she has already "finished." Its not always effort. Sometimes its knowledge.

Speaking of lol, does anyone think that author hangout suggests zipping your fly?

Replies:   Chris Podhola
Chris Podhola

@richardshagrin

Speaking of lol, does anyone think that author hangout suggests zipping your fly?

No. It suggests unzipping it! he he he

I agree with what you said. There was a time when I didn't give two shits about editing. I wrote for myself and did it just for fun. Even when I first began posting my stories on SOL and other sites, I did so unedited. I was writing for fun and to me, editing wasn't fun. Nothing wrong with that, other than you do end up turning off a lot of readers that way.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Switch Blayde

@Chris Podhola

Now there's a good example of an author who doesn't put enough effort into editing.


I don't believe it's lack of editing. I think it's done intentionally (or out of ignorance). It seems to be his style. As I'm reading more, the lack of transitions is continuing and getting even more confusing than the example I posted.

Each time I come upon the lack of a transition, my reading stops cold and I have to figure out where I am (in the story).

The author doesn't write omniscient correctly and head-hops all over the place. I don't think self-editing would fix that. If you don't know it's wrong, you can't make it right. There are other errors editing would have fixed, though. But the lack of transitions is the worst mistake he makes.

However, I'm still reading the story and will read it to the end. With all his errors, the writing is above average of what I find on SOL. And the plot is good.

Replies:   Chris Podhola
Chris Podhola

@Switch Blayde

I've done that before too. If the story itself is interesting enough it could be drawn in dirt and I would still read it.

Replies:   Grant
Ernest Bywater

@Chris Podhola

There was a time when I didn't give two shits about editing. I wrote for myself and did it just for fun.


Although I've the same basic feelings, I edit and revise my stories because I want to put out the best damn presentation I can.

Replies:   Chris Podhola
Chris Podhola
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


Although I've the same basic feelings, I edit and revise my stories because I want to put out the best damn presentation I can.


Agreed. Not everybody does though. I've seen a few people mention Kahmnd in this forum a few times. I think his stories are marvelous (at least the last few I read were), but back when I read them, the editing was atrocious in his stories. Maybe he's gotten better in that regard, but to be honest, with his stories, I didn't care. The story lines were so good that I was willing to dismiss the mistakes.

Grant

@Chris Podhola

I've done that before too. If the story itself is interesting enough it could be drawn in dirt and I would still read it.

Whereas for me, poor formatting, grammar, spelling, etc can kill a story for me.
It doesn't matter how good the story might be; if I can't read it, it's no good.
I read for the enjoyment andf if I have to work at it, it's not enjoyable.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Grant


Whereas for me, poor formatting, grammar, spelling, etc can kill a story for me.

It doesn't matter how good the story might be; if I can't read it, it's no good.


The story is very readable. As I said, it's written better than most stories I've read on SOL. The head-hopping and jumping around is annoying, but it's still readable. The lack of transitions is very annoying, but not enough to make me quit reading.

I started this thread to highlight the importance of transitions. Evidently, some people don't care. That's a shame because it's an important ingredient to writing readable fiction.

Replies:   Chris Podhola
Chris Podhola

@Switch Blayde

Evidently, some people don't care.


I hope I didn't give you the impression that I don't care. There may be authors who don't, but they are authors who lose a lot of readers (as I used to in the earliest days of posting in the free market) because they don't care.

While I do agree with your earlier point that this author may not have the skill or knowledge to edit out these mistakes, I will also point out that when I first started editing, I didn't either. It was only through strenuous effort and desire that I learned. I am still learning.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Chris Podhola

I hope I didn't give you the impression that I don't care.


Not at all. I was responding to some of the other comments.

There may be authors who don't, but they are authors who lose a lot of readers.


They would disagree with you. In fact, there's proof they're right. My highest or second highest scoring story on SOL is filled with head-hopping. The readers don't care. But that was addressed in another thread.

this author may not have the skill or knowledge to edit out these mistakes, I will also point out that when I first started editing, I didn't either.


Either did I. I read stories on Black Shadow (now extinct), ASSTR, and other sites and started writing my own. Then a traditional publisher rejected my novel with feedback (show don't tell and don't head-hop). That's when I started to learn the craft of writing fiction. I was motivated to do that. Other authors are not. They are not wrong for doing what they do. In fact, I used to enjoy writing more before I learned how to do it "right."

Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

In fact, I used to enjoy writing more before I learned how to do it "right."


Switch, I wrote many millions of words of mostly fiction before I even tried writing a fiction novel. The stuff before that was all called government reports and financial statements. But the style to write them is extremely different to a novel, despite the major skills being the same.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

But the style to write them is extremely different to a novel


I agree 100%.

Fiction has its own principles. Knowing how to write isn't the same as knowing how to write a story.

(btw, I got the joke about fiction and government reports and financial statements.)

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Chris Podhola

@Switch Blayde

They would disagree with you. In fact, there's proof they're right. My highest or second highest scoring story on SOL is filled with head-hopping. The readers don't care. But that was addressed in another thread.


I guess you have a point here. My most successful story in the free market would make me want to hide my head in shame by my standards today. And it's very true that I was having a blast back then. Writing without worrying about the quality, being able to just throw the words onto paper and then push the publish button, was a lot of fun. lol

Now it's a lot more work. ;)

Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

(btw, I got the joke about fiction and government reports and financial statements.)


Switch,

The sad thing is: I wasn't joking.

A simple real life example. The military base I was on had a dozen units operating from it, a mix of Air Force, Army, Navy, and civilian. All the four Defence Dept units had their own radio frequencies, plus a set of combined service frequencies, and the Search and Rescue operations had another. We had no radios that covered them all, but they were available. I was able to generate enough on-base savings in operational costs to buy replacement radios for everyone out of my base management budget. Sadly, due to the inter-service politics I couldn't get the higher commands of the other services to allow me to give their local units radios out of my budget, no matter how well I wrote up the improved operational aspects. I did manage it after I spoke with a couple of knowledgeable sergeants and we did a series of individual reports on operational damage in training activities had put a third of their existing radios out of operation and those models were no longer available for purchase as replacement units. Then we got approval to purchase a quantity of new model radios to replace them, they even gave a small budget increase for it. I transferred enough new radios to replace all they had, all their old units were returned to general stores as excess to unit requirements the extra unit budget was expended buying spares and accessories. The real reports on better operations ignored, the bullshit on damaged radios approved, and we got back to work. This sort of thing was common to get past the bureaucrats in all the service and civilian HQs.

Also, after expenditure reports on new major items bought had to be worded in ways that suit the politicians' egos and not the operational effectiveness of the unit that got them.

Replies:   Grant
aubie56
Updated:

"Also, after expenditure reports on new major items bought had to be worded in ways that suit the politicians' egos and not the operational effectiveness of the unit that got them."

The "Peter Principle" in action!

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@aubie56

Some financial statements approach fiction or even fantasy, or at least are economical with unpleasant truths. In the US many companies report financial statements quarterly. I worked in Insurance, and those reports went to State Insurance Departments. It could be amazing to some people how strong the financials were on a number of insurers up until they declared bankruptcy. Assets can be valued in many ways. Some more creative than others. Reserves for pending losses are adjustable when needed. Actuaries have multiple ways of adjusting trends and future costs all mathematically correct, but not necessarily correctly forecasting what they estimate. Very few people responsible for financial statements want to put together figures that will put them out of a job, when there is an approach they can use that postpones that evil day until the next reporting period. Auditors can be mislead, and sometimes are hired because they are willing to be lied to. As Banadin says, its all true, except for a lie or two.

Grant
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


Switch,

The sad thing is: I wasn't joking.


Many years ago my Mum was involved in setting up some community support services in Country NSW. The end result of many years work was that she couldn't watch "Yes Minister or "Yes Prime Minister" because she didn't find them at all funny- they were exactly like dealing with the NSW government.

One day you would talk to a particular dept or even the Minister & they would give you their full support. A few weeks, or even days later, & they would be back tracking like you wouldn't have thought possible.

richardshagrin

I can't remember if I said it here or not, but politics (and by extension politicians) comes from the Greek poly for many, and ticks, for blood sucking insects. Sometimes ticks carry diseases. You can get sick from dealing with them.

Chris Podhola

Thread officially derailed.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater  Grant
Ernest Bywater

@Chris Podhola

Thread officially derailed.


Only because it got railroaded!

Grant

@Chris Podhola

Thread officially derailed.

As per the thread title, it transitioned.

Replies:   Chris Podhola
Chris Podhola

@Grant

As per the thread title, it transitioned.


Good point! And it didn't even follow the rules of omniscient POV.

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