They say that life is stranger than fiction. But in my experience, life is often mimics its on-page counterpart. Or perhaps it’s the other way?
Either way, the two are eerily alike.
Nowhere is this better scene in transitions: those times of change that come inevitably to all people, fictional or non-. In screenplays, writers often use short transition scenes when characters travel between two locations or between two distinct parts of the story. MONTAGE or SERIES OF SHOTS are common header designations for these “fast-forward” story beats.
Novelists do the same, but their transitions are often woven more seamlessly into the text as a paragraph, a short chapter, or even just a single sentence.
In both cases, the transitional scene may seem small, but it can have big impact. Transitions help set the pace of the story, enhance its poetry and deepen its impact. Writers who handle them poorly—or fail to insert them at all—do so to the peril of their work.
Life, too, has transitions. Pauses in the poetry of being, if you will. Quiet tunnels connecting one leg of the hero’s journey to the next. They may not come marked as a MONTAGE or SERIES OF SHOTS . . . but they’re there.
This week, I’m in one.
Many of my friends, readers, and fans know that I work in marketing as my “day job.” At the end of 2013 I was surprised (literally—it came out of nowhere) with the opportunity to join a new agency, Derse. I rarely talk about my 9 to 5 work here, and due to confidentiality restrictions, that won’t change once I move. Suffice to say Derse does great work, and I’m very honored to join their team.
My new job will incorporate many of my skills as a writer and storyteller, just like my last one did. But I’ll work on bigger accounts, with different types of tools, and probably see many new places while meeting many new people. Overall, it’s a big jump in responsibility: one I don’t take lightly.
Last week I said goodbye to my family at Flipeleven. Next Monday, I start at Derse. During this in-between week, I’m walking through a real-life Montage, a Series of Shots, a transition paragraph between one adventure and the next.
At first I was sad about having so much down time in between. But then, I remembered that transitions are a powerful and necessary part of stories. What heroes do during periods of anticipation, preparation, and travel is just as important as what they do in the seemingly “big” scenes of life.
Transitions force us to stop and think about where we’ve been and where we’re going. They’re all about attention and intentionality—two practices we can lose sight of in the busy hustle and bustle of life.
So this week, I’m setting out to write this transition well. I’m taking time to reflect on 2013 goals, set goals for 2014, clean my writing room out, and get ready for other part of my life, like Aurelia’s second season and the Midwinter Gaming Convention. There’s also a little last-minute shopping to look my best next week!
Come Monday, the “professional me” will embark on the next chapter of her journey. For now, I’m enjoying the quiet traverse between a wonderful Yesterday and a gratefully-anticipated Tomorrow.
In the story of life, transitions matter. How are you writing yours?