Writing Forward with Transitions
Hello Friends and Readers,
If this is your first time to read a Soul Mate Publishing blog post, allow me to introduce myself. I write historical romance novels with a dash of suspense under my pen name, Wareeze Woodson. Six of my books are published by Soul Mate and have been released on Amazon. Conduct Unbecoming of a Gentleman, An Enduring Love, A Lady’s Vanishing Choices, Captured by the Viscount, The Earl’s Scandalous Wager along with a historical romance western: Bittersweep. I have a self-published one as well, After She Became a Lady. That is number seven. Self-publishing is not for me, however.
Thanks for taking the time to read my article. I have discussed the ins and outs of writing in past articles, the hero, the heroine, the villain, setting the scene, character development, where I find my inspiration for each story, and the lists continues.
If you’ll be kind enough to read forward, perhaps my words shall offer a little more insight into writing and the turmoil therein. There must be a transition between the action scenes to move the story forward.
Have you have read a book that went on and on without an advancement to the story line? I have and I did want to turn the page alright, but only to escape the tedium of hashing the same thing over until it made me yawn. I hope to show examples of what not to do along with something to move the story forward.
One of my favorite authors wrote a book where the hero could never convince the heroine of the reality of the situation. She couldn’t commit to him or accept him in her life. Although evidence of the truth of his words was all around her, she fought against the reality of being in another world. I wanted to slap her on the back of the head. Harping on that one element was very off-putting. Start with a strong premise and with characters not as blind as those who choose not to see.
On to moving the story forward. While working toward that end, remember the characters can’t be in one place and simply arrive at another location without forward motion. A transition must occur.
The reader must be drawn into the story by a description of the place, smells, noises, and relatable things that happen in everyday life plus wanting to know what happens next. FORWARD MOTION.
An example while traveling: Conduct Unbecoming of a Gentleman
The next morning, Adron appeared on the steps as Horace, a big, burly dark complexioned man with black hair and eyes, pulled the coach round to the front entrance. He dismounted and scanned the sky. “Weather appears nasty, Milord.”
Laurel rushed down the stairs. “Please! I must go to my aunt.”
In a slight upward nod with his chin, Adron acknowledged her statement. “The weather does appear dubious but if it becomes too inclement, Horace will pull in at the nearest inn or posting house. Have a safe trip and wish your aunt the best health.”
Breathing a sigh of relief, she climbed aboard and took Jamie from Hester’s arms as the maid flopped on the opposite seat. Laurel waved and watched Adron as he returned her wave before mounting the steps.
Delighted to be well on her way, in spite of the threat of a pending downpour, she was even happier to have Jamie with her. With the gentle sway of the coach, Jamie fell asleep, and Hester nodded off soon after. As the day advanced, Laurel’s eyelids grew heavy and drifted down as well.
The smell of rain-drenched air brought her round and she glanced out the window. The sky had darkened considerably since the morning and the storm broke with a vengeance. Rain pelted the vehicle making it advisable to put up at the closest inn. Horace drove the coach out on the pike-road, a mile or so north of Han’s Cross on the lookout for the lonely posting house. He pulled to a stop and helped the ladies down.
TRANSITATION INTO THE NEXT SCENE MOVING THE STORY FORWARD
Laurel and her group traipsed into the inn, shaking the moisture from their traveling cloaks. Following the Innkeeper into the interior of the inn, she approved the private parlor off the coffee room with a nod. A cheerful fire chased the dampness from the chamber and chairs were placed before the hearth. She rubbed her hands together before the blaze and pulled Jamie’s chair a little closer before ordering a light repast to accompany the tea.
Hester tripped into the room. “Everything is right and tight as is proper for your ladyship and the little one.” The maid bustled about the room, fluffing pillows, and drawing a small table and chairs closer to the fire. “I’ve unpacked, Milady.” At the rap on the door, Hester hurried over to open it. “Here’s your supper now.” She arranged the meal on the table and bobbed her head. “Your ladyship.”
“Thank you, Hester. I’ll be fine. Jamie and I’ll go straight upstairs to our chamber. We’ll both go to bed so don’t concern yourself with us again tonight.”
THIS TRANSITIONED INTO THE NEXT SCENE BELOW
Hester curtsied and bustled out of the parlor. Before the meal was half consumed the maid briefly knocked and burst into the room, drawing a long breath. “Milady, my chamber has been disturbed, searched and everything is in a scramble. I was that scared so I called, Horace and showed him the mess.”
Another example from Vanessa
Vanessa is my present work in progress
Vanessa peered out the window and caught her breath. Indeed, three men with masks over their faces and pistols drawn were riding hard after the coach. A shot rang out and she jerked back, watching in horror as the coachman tumbled from his perch and rolled on the ground. The horses snorted and careened out of control. With every muscle in her body tensed, she clung to the strap above the seat. The carriage bounced in and out of a deep rut followed by a loud explosive crack sending the frightened animals into a frenzy. The scream of splintering wood filled the coach as the shaft convulsed allowing the panicked horses to break free. The carriage swayed nearly over-turning before it verged into the underbrush beside the road and crashed into a tree. Vanessa was thrown to the floor with the other passenger on top of her.
After what seemed like hours, her mind cleared, and Vanessa came to herself. Her head ached and the other lady’s loud weeping made the situation worse. “Mrs. Latham, please hush and move off of me. I can hardly breathe.”
The other passenger struggled upright and moved onto the tilted seat. She sobbed into her handkerchief. Vanessa lifted her skirts and spied her pistol at her feet. Scooping up her weapon, she scrambled onto the other banquette, and sank back with her hand at her chest to halt the pounding of her heart. After taking a minute to compose herself, and to listen intently, she leaned out of the window to take a quick peek in both directions. There was no sign of the guard or the crooks—no one. Only the distant slowly fading beat of running horses reached her over Mrs. Latham’s whimpering.
“Mrs. Latham, are you injured in any way?”
The other passenger peered at her over her handkerchief. “My nerves are shattered. I may have one of my spasms if something isn’t done to recuse me this instant.”
Exasperated with the woman, Vanessa fought to keep her tone civil. “This is a well-traveled road. Someone will come along to help us.” She wanted to slap some sense into Mrs. Latham’s wilted, self-pitying head. “I intend to walk back the way we came to discover how badly the coachman is injured. Perhaps I can render aide.”
The other woman cried, “No. I shall perish with fear if you leave me all alone.”
TRANSITION TO THE NEXT SCENE
“I shan’t be long. He should be a little way beyond the bend in the road. If you are afraid to remain here by yourself, accompany me.” With that, she climbed out of the coach, wrapped her cloak snuggly around her, gripped her pistol, and walked away.
These were two examples of scenes and transitions always moving the story forward. Characters moved from one place, a physical location, to another. The tale advances, both in traveling, but also in further actions, hopefully making the reader want to read the next page and the next.
I hope I’ve given the reader a brief glimpse into using a transition to move the story forward. To learn more about my writing, visit my website or visit my facebook page.