Tag Archives: dialogue

How to Transition Smoothly Between Chapters

How to Transition Smoothly Between Chapters I get a lot of questions regarding writing advice. While I’m no expert, I certainly have some opinions that I’m more than happy to share. Recently, I was asked:

“Are there any ‘good’ ways to have smooth transitions between chapters so that the story flows in an understandable way for the reader?”

First we need to understand that there are two different types of transitions that can occur when a chapter ends:

A.) transitioning from one scene to a completely different scene

B.) transitioning from one scene to a continuation of the same scene, but just in the next chapter

Biker through tunnel

In scenario (a) if there are large gaps of time between the end of one chapter and the beginning of the next, then I usually say something like, “The last 6 months had been rough for Joe. He kept his head down and worked hard…” This is my “establishing shot” so-to-speak. It provides context for the reader and lets them know that the scene has now jumped. The next paragraph after that, I will have Joe doing something and engaging in a new scene.

My book The Art of the Hustle does this quite a bit since I cover 10 years in the book. In one scene, there was so much of a gap (like 4 years), that it was weird to just transition from one chapter to the next so I made a new part. So the book starts out with Part 1 – Chapter 1,2,3,4…. then about halfway, I introduce Part 2 and mention that it has been 4 years later. man walkingIn some cases, it may be more fluid to not have a chapter break, but instead just have a text break. So an example would look like this:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.

With this technique, you don’t have to be all that smooth since the separator lets the reader know that you’ve transitioned into a different scene. If the gap in time is not that large, say the character is at work in one chapter, and then at home in the next chapter, I may just say “Joe was exhausted. He sat on the couch as he usually did after his shift and watched sports highlights…” hot air balloon at nightScenario (b) — a continuation of the same scene, but just in the next chapter — is much easier. I actually prefer this ‘cliff-hanger’ technique as much as possible to encourage people to continue reading. TV shows often end this way as well. So if a chapter ends like, “Joe turned around and was shocked by who was standing before him.” I’ll end the chapter there so the reader wants to keep reading to find out who was standing behind Joe.

Then, in the next chapter I would begin by saying something like, “Joe couldn’t believe his eyes as he was now staring at a man he long presumed dead…” So basically you just pick up where you left off. In fact, I often write the scene straight through and then later pick some moment which I feel would make a good cliff-hanger and then end my chapter there.

Some writers have an ‘A’ plot and a ‘B’ plot and they stitch it together like a zipper. So in my above example, you would say something like, “Joe turned around and was shocked by who was standing before him.” End chapter. Then the next chapter would be the ‘B’ plot — a completely different scene altogether.

Then once that chapter ends, you pick up where you left off with the ‘A’ plot. I tend not to do this, but it can add more excitement as the reader now has to read an entire chapter just to get back to where they left off in the story. Blog banner

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Episode #18 – The Death of Socrates!

trial of socrates

On episode 18 of The Edward Mullen Podcast, I recount the death of Socrates based on Plato’s Crito. Listen as Socrates presents his case to his friend Crito on whether he should honour his word and obey the law, or escape from prison and live in exile.

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PODOMATIC_LOGO

 

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Episode #17 – The Trial of Socrates

Trial of SocatesSocrates is arguably one of the greatest men who ever lived. His wisdom has captured imaginations for thousands of years and will likely inspire people for several thousand more. In this week’s episode of The Edward Mullen Podcast, I pay homage to him. On episode 17, I recount the trial of Socrates based on Plato’s Apology. Tune in to hear the words of this wise man as he presents his case in front of 501 fellow Athenians.

The formal charges are:

  • Corrupting the youth
  • Not believing in the gods the city believes

Many scholars believe Plato’s Apology was Plato’s first dialogue and it is commonly regarded as one the most reliable sources of information about Socrates. While the dialogue is written in the first person, from Socrates point of view, it is not necessarily a historical account of what was spoken that day. Nevertheless, it is worth a read or listen.

honour his word and obey the law, or escape from prison and live in exile.

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PODOMATIC_LOGO

 

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How to Write a Novel

hustle_coverThe marketplace for writers has changed. Gone are the days where writers rely on big publishing houses to distribute their stories to mass markets. With the advent of the internet and e-readers, self-publishing is bigger than ever and continues to grow.

With the barrier to entry so low, many aspiring writers are polishing up their writing chops and putting their content out there and trying to build an audience. If you have a desire to write a great novel one day, or have an idea burning a hole in your mind and you just want to get it out, then this video is for you.

It is a step-by-step description of how to write a novel – from the beginning stages of coming up with an idea, to bringing it to market. This video is a detailed and concise account of my writing process, which may be different than yours. Nevertheless, there should be at least something of value to you.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Article by Edward Mullen

Author of The Art of the Hustle and Destiny and Free Will

Host of The Edward Mullen Podcast

www.EdwardMullen.com

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