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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Turning Points and How to Write Like You Want To

by Cynthia Light Brown

I like writing turning points. I like the tension, dialogue, subtle nuances that signal to the reader what’s really happening. I dislike writing description, whether of a person or a place or occurrence. I also dislike writing transitions. But if the transition is a turning point? Game on.

I was just trying to write a scene of a competition taking place in my novel. I started with the transition from the last scene because the reader needs that, right? It was so painful…every…word…was…like…a…tooth…extraction. And that’s just what it felt like writing it. I imagine reading it wouldn’t be as bad, because the reader would simply stop reading. Problem solved.

So I imagined that this scene was the opening chapter of a sequel with high-stakes tension. I had to engage the reader, suck them in with minimal description. Presto! The writing was flowing along, much more interesting than before. I can always add in VERY short bits of description or “transition” later during editing.

Find the stuff you like to write. Then just write that stuff.

Back to transitions and turning points. What’s the difference between them? You could define them both as: when something changes. The difference is tension and importance. A turning point has tension and something important is happening. If all you have is a transition, it better not be more than a few words, especially if you’re writing for kids. Why would they read for very long when there’s no tension and nothing important is happening?

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