Breaking Down the Action Scenes
Transitions: From Here to Where?

Transitions: In Writing, In Life

Madisons camera october 9 037 (2) m and boys sepiaHey, my fellow writerly women. It's been a while, hasn't it? My absence has definitely not been not due to lack of thought of all of you, believe me. I guess the best way to explain it is to say I've been in "transition". Does that resonate with anyone? I'm sure you've had them:

    * from the dreamy idealism of the late teens to the stinging slap of the early twenties that wakes you up to adulthood

  •     * from the lull of a relationship to the sharp state of singleness, or vice versa
  •     * from the rote following of religion to the bright walk of real faith 

I could go on, but you get the idea, right? Me? I've been in transition from energetic, I-got-this health to a state of mindfulness of my physical fragility. I'm on a healing journey and it's worth it and I'm learning tons -- seriously, TONS -- but it's taken time and energy that I would have ordinarily used to be here with you, sharing and developing the writing life. Now that I have a direction, I think I can be present more. Are you up for a re-start?

An idea for us came to me in one of those times when I was lying still with my eyes closed but not sleeping (who DOES that? apparently I do now!). We'll have a monthly theme, one that touches not only our writing, which is what brings us together, but our creativity as a whole and our very lives. We can't really separate those things out from each other anyway, so why not go with it?

For August, that theme is the aforementioned TRANSITIONS. We'll start with those places in our writing when we've left a pretty intense or significant or active or downright hilarious scene and we need to move to the next one -- but we don't know how to get there without accounting for every mundane moment of the protagonist's life in between. AMANDA -- who is probably the youngest among us but certainly not the least talented, as you'll see -- has asked us to look at a bridge scene she's written. Her questions:

    1. How do I not lose my momentum during these scenes?

    2. How long should they be?

So let's do this. If you'd like to support Amanda, read her excerpt below and in a comment (a) tell what you like about the scene and (b) give her feedback of 1 to 5, 5 being the clearest and 1 beinAmandag the foggiest in terms of getting us from one scene to the next without bogging. 

I give you Amanda King, Author of the Future:     

      The workhouse was eerily quiet, completely abandoned except for the three of us. We followed him down the three levels, the iron stairs intact but precariously unstable as we stepped over debris. Everything was shattered, broken beyond hopes of repair, plaster and stone crumbling little by little. Whatever the Mountain did next would surely be the end of this building forever. This place had been my home for almost my entire life, but I wouldn’t miss an inch of it. It would be better off in ruins.

    My feet stepped into water as we reached the final level, the unrecognizable room flooded, water and dust mixing into mud. We waded through it, our bare feet stinging as we stepped on broken things that we couldn’t see to avoid beneath the murky water. The main door had been thrown aside, and dim light shone through. The Knight exited, and we followed him out into the open. We stood in a ravine, the rows of workhouses rising up on either side of us, built into the mountain. The other buildings were in similar disarray, and as the dust was beginning to settle, I could faintly see a group of the other slaves, all silently huddled together as they traveled down the road away from the mountain. They were escaping this place, those who had survived; they were free now. I could have been with them, I realized as I stared after them wistfully. We had been so close to being free, but we had missed our chance. 

Here's our plan:

    * I'll give you a few days to respond to Amanda. Even if you just give her a number I know she'll appreciate that.

    * Meanwhile, I'll do another post this week asking for your input on transitions in our lives, which will provide fuel for future posts

    * Early next week, I'll post my response to Amanda's excerpt and offer some guidelines for writing narrative bridges.

Sully's bridge

If you have a transition excerpt or a how-do-I get-from-here-to-there issue you'd like for us to take a look at, with subsequent feedback from me, please email it to me.  

Before I go, a couple of victories to celebrate:

    MEGAN GONZALEZ has had her third YA novel, Salty Crisps, accepted by Clean Reads, which will be out as early as December 2018. This completes the trilogy of Sketchy Tacos and Bubbly Schnitzel.

    LILY and SUSAN have both completed final drafts of their first novels. MARGIE has finished her first draft.   JENNIFER and CAYLENE have completed the first draft of a project they've been working on together since last year's Young Women Writers Retreat. 

    DEB HAYES has launched I Can Do Stuff . Check it out: (there's a funky video of me if you scroll down ...) Just click here. You are going to want to be part of this. 

    GLORIA  now has a writing gig with long time author Bill Myers, which I'll have her tell you about in a comment. She was also a star at the recent Glen Eyrie Writers Conference ...  (word to the wise: never volunteer to participate in a Tim Shoemaker keynote) Gloria and tim

    DARLO GEMEINHARDT has signed a three-book contract for her At the Crossroads Series with Little Lamb Publishers, the first of which is entitled Abra-Cadaver Dog. How fun does that sound? 

If I've missed a milestone you've shared with me, let me know and I'll put it out there so we can all go, "Yay, rah!" If you have one you haven't told me about, what the heck's been stoppin' ya? Let's hear it, girl! 

It is good to be back with you. Thanks for being here to come back TO. Together, let's transition from writers alone to a community of creators. Yes. Let's do that. 


Nancy Rue   




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Nancy Rue

Tanks for supporting Amanda, GLoria. You're such a vital part of this community.

Amanda King

Thank you so much Nancy! I'm so glad you're back, and I hope you feel better and better as the days progress. I've been on a healing journey too these past couple months, and it's good to see that I'm not alone. Healing is a process but with Jesus, it's so worth it. I'm excited to learn more about transitions this month!

Wow, thank you so much Gloria! That means so much!


Amanda, wow! Beautiful imagery, and I loved how you put me in your character's head. I liked how you tell us the characters are going down three levels, then you show us what he/she sees and what his/her thoughts are, which gives us a sense of passing time without taking us down each step with him/her. And the last two sentences really gripped me. I'd give it a 5 honestly.
Congratulations everyone on these achievements! Things have really been happening!
Yes! I'm excited about this writing gig with Bill Myers, especially since I have a fellow writer and friend Kelly on the team as well. The idea is to do an interactive storytelling, where myself and a few others will be assigned a character and then people can join our group to help that character through the story. It's kind of a big concept to figure out, but it's going to be a fun adventure!
And at the Glen Erie Writers workshop... y'all should have seen Nancy's face when Tim put me in that plastic bag. Ohhhh, I wish I'd gotten a picture of that. Hahahahahahahaha

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