Transitions

by RR
(USA)

Question: I'm writing a historical fiction story set in the 1800s based on real historical events. As the second draft currently stands, the protagonist is recalling events that happened earlier, as in Forrest Gump or To Kill a Mockingbird. In the past, the protagonist's family moves frequently due to financial reasons, and the family sometimes breaks up, so they don't always live in one state. Some beta readers have said the transitions between their moves are too rough and make the story feel like bits and pieces. How could I make the story feel more cohesive?


Answer Well, without seeing the manuscript, that's a tough question to answer. Here are a couple of questions you could ask yourself...

1. Is the arc of the overall story strong enough? Or does the story feel too episodic? In other words, what ties all these scenes in different places together? Is there one overall problem the family is coping with that builds to a crisis and is resolved in the end? Are all the scenes/events part of a clear arc?

2. Are you making the transitions clear, so the reader can easily figure out where each event is located, both geographically and in terms of the timeline? If not, can you give the reader enough clues to orient themselves with each transition?

Best of luck.

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