Motivation Techniques:
Seamless Transitions

by t300001145

Question: I have a huge problem. When I get a writer's block, it's nearly ALWAYS in the middle of the book (It's hard for me to do shorties). It has nothing to do with not having things planned out. It's how I keep going. During an emotional point of the book, it's hard for me to continue the idea to seamlessly fit it in with the rest of my book. EX: A guy is fed up over circumstances beyond his control that separates him from his girl and there is a huge mental monologue. But when I want him to move on to, say, get on board the plane, it's like, how do I transition? Start a new chapter? Or does someone force him on? Most ideas that come are overly abrupt. I don't want abruptness... I want seamlessness, naturalness. I guess you can say I ride on feelings when I write. So, my problem is coming up with ideas that work into my idea of a plot, moving on from one event to another. Can you help with that? Thanks.

Answer: Thanks for the great question! Whenever I think of seamlessness, the first thing that comes to mind is "chain wrestling." Chain wrestling was always the goal back on the high school wrestling team, to have one move flow into another without even thinking. There's very little time to think when you've got someone trying to beat you up, so if you already have it deep down in your subconscious what the next move should be, you'll be more likely to win.

It seems like by hitting the same block multiple times, you need to sort of train yourself out of the problem. Even though you have a difficult time writing short stories, you may want to practice writing just these scenes that you've having trouble with.

In your particular example, it seems like you could deal with the problem by having the character get on the plane before the mental monologue begins. I don't know about you, but I've definitely had plenty of mental monologues on planes, especially after emotional situations. If the transition to the new location happens beforehand, it can seamlessly make the monologue occur while the character is transitioning to the new location.

I think your other problem here is character motivation. During my time as an actor in college, I went through many acting classes that focused on what our character's motivation was. This was especially tough in scenes where it seemed like our characters wanted to leave. If the first line in a scene is "I need to go" then why doesn't the person just go? Why does the character go on talking for two minutes? The answer is, that the person doesn't want to leave, he or she wants something before leaving. Often, that desire takes the form of receiving some sort of validation. Validation can be odd sometimes, for instance, a character might feel validated after shouting the final word of a fight and slamming the door. A character might feel validated if someone they love says "I love you" and that's what he needed before leaving.

Now, of course, you don't say out loud that the character has received this validation, but if you are thinking that as you write it, it may make the character's transition easier.

I think it's OK if transitions are abrupt every so often. Sometimes it's best just to push through a rough transition and go back to finish it later. One of my favorite motivation techniques is to just rush through a first draft to get it on paper and out of my system. Once it's there, I can then go about thinking how to make it seamless. Most of the wonderful, seamless transitions you've read in other stories weren't there in the first draft. They are often brilliant ideas that come about once the story is already put together.

So, to recap:
1. Try writing scenes with transitions to practice getting it right.

2. Let the emotional things happen during the transitions like in a car or on a plane.

3. Think about the character's objective, such as validation when transitioning from an emotional moment.

4. Rush through your first draft just to finish the story and work on the transitions later.

Hope this was helpful!

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