Friday, November 15, 2019

Conference Fun and Transitions

Hello everyone, Winnie Griggs here. Last weekend I attended the Readers & Ritas Reader Weekend in Dallas and wanted to share just a little bit of the fun we had with a few quick photos:

The weekend kicked off with a reader scavenger hunt on Friday afternoon. Unfortunately I forgot to get a picture of my table, but here is a photo of the spinner I used at my table to award the various little prizes I handed out.

Next was an author bingo sponsored by me and four other author friends - Julia London, Angi Morgan, Sasha Summers and C.A.Szarek. These are always so fun, for both the authors and the readers. Here's a pic of the author team (some of us took the PJ party aspect more serious than others :) )

On Saturday I hosted a table for lunch. This year I chose Cool Chicks Read as my theme and I had a great time collecting and creating items that would fit.

Then Saturday afternoon I was part of a panel titled I'm Holding Out For A Hero along with authors Bethany Turner, D B Reynolds and Tif Marcelo. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it turned out to be a competition with me and Tif paired off against D.B. and Bethany. We were given questions that required us to answer with either lists or drawings and then the attendees voted on whose responses they liked best. Suffice it to say there was a LOT of laughter at our responses. The session actually ended in a tie (or maybe the moderators just decided to cut it off there :)  )

Then there was a booksigning where I got to sit next to my panel-mate, Tif Marceello.

The day ended with supper where I got to sit at the table hosted by the always fun and fabulous C.A Szarek

A wonderful end to a wonderful event!

And now for the writing portion of this post, I thought I'd dust off a post I did here ten years ago on Transitions:

Transitions: Getting From Here To There

When writing your story, you don’t want to include a detailed account of every action taken by every character in your story, nor do you always want to tell the story linearly. Instead, a good writer will select those scenes that are not only of interest but that also progress the plot in some way. Which means, by necessity, gaps will occur: gaps in time, in movement from one location to another, in point of view, in scene focus.

Transitions are those small but oh-so-important words or phrases that help guide your reader across these story gaps smoothly and while still remaining grounded in your story. There are several techniques or devices that you can utilize to do this effectively. Some of them are:

The Direct Method or ‘Clean Break’- Simply tell the reader what change has taken place:

  • Early the following Monday, Michael.... (Time change)
  • Once he reached the parking garage.... (Location change)

Mood - Use feelings, emotions, atmosphere to help convey the change:

  • As Stan pulled out of the company garage onto the congested highway, his hands clutched the wheel in a death grip and the cords in his neck tightened. It would take forever to get out of this tangle of traffic...
  • Once the city was behind him, however, the tension drained away and he breezed down the open road that led to his summer cabin. (Time and Location change)

The Five Senses - Use sound, sight, touch, taste and smell to bridge a story gap:

  • Margie hummed as she applied an extra spray of her favorite cologne, enjoying the light floral scent.

    Andy’s nose started to twitch before Margie even entered the room. Why did she insist on using that nasty flowery perfume that always made him sneeze? (POV change)
  • Cassie heard a distant grumble of thunder off to the east as she closed her book. Maybe Allan was finally getting some of that rain he’d been hoping for.

    Allan squinted through the windshield, looking for a safe place to pull over and wait out the violent storm. This wasn’t what he’d had in mind when he’d prayed for a ‘bit of rain’. (POV and location change)

An Event - Use an ongoing, recent or anticipated event to unify your scenes:

  • Hesitating for only a heartbeat, Lynda dropped the letter into the mail slot, determined to make the first move toward reconciliation.
    When a week passed without a response, however, she began to wonder if contacting her grandfather had been such a wise move after all. (Time change)
  • The near-crash triggered a memory, one she’d rather not dwell on. But there it was, full blown and swooshing in like an avalanche. That other crash had happened six years ago. Her mom was driving her and her friends to the airport... (Time change - flashback)

A Character (whether human or otherwise) - Use the mention of a character to guide us through a story shift:

  • Stacey pulled into her driveway on Friday afternoon, wondering how she’d let her sister talk her into dog-sitting their troublesome mutt for the weekend. She really wasn’t big into the whole pet scene.
    But by Sunday evening,, Rufus had wormed his shaggy way right into her heart. (Time change)

An Object - Use an object or activity to move from one scene to another without jarring the reader:

  • Roger halted mid-sentence as a baseball came crashing through the window. Blast it all, he’d told Jimmy not to play ball in the yard.
    He picked up the ball and marched to the door . Jimmy was going to pay to fix this, even if it meant he had to mow every yard in town to do it. (Change in focus)

The Environment- Use weather, terrain, scenery, seasons to depict change:
  • The autumn seemed long that year. Perhaps it was because she was so homesick for the Ozarks, where nature painted the mountainsides with magnificent blazes of color. Winter was easier, and by spring, the Texas gulf coast was beginning to feel, if not like home, at least less alien to her.   (Time change - extended period)

These are just a sampling. There are, of course, other ways to handle transitions. Just keep in mind - your main goal in using transitions is to keep your reader grounded and oriented in the who, what, where, and when of your story without their having to reread passages to figure it out.


And now for some fun news. Just in time for Thanksgiving, my publisher has re-released my novella Home For Thanksgiving as part of their Love Inspired Classics program.  Leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy

All that stands between Ruby Anne Tuggle and a fresh start is an escort to Tyler, Texas.

Rancher Griff Lassiter is too kind to refuse, but too wary of being hurt again to offer anything but protection on the journey. 

Then a fever forces an unexpected detour and a chance to find the place they both belong...

To learn more or get your copy, check HERE


  1. Winnie, I love the conference stuff. What a fun group of events! And the chicks are super adorable.... It almost inspires me to get more chickens... but the stuffed ones smell better than the real ones... :)

    Thank you for the transition advice. Transitions seem easy, but they're not. I often expect the reader to just know that I've transitioned, and then have to revise to make it more obvious. Shouldn't they just know what's in my head???

    Alas, if it's not on the page, how is the wonderful reader to know? So I get caught tripping up on that and have to watch for it in revisions and edits.

    Winnie, I'm so glad you had fun at the conference. It looks like a wonderful time!

    1. Hi Ruthy, yes the conference was a blast! And glad you liked the transition notes

  2. Your reader event sounds like so much fun! Lots of different ways to engage with readers, which is great, since readers are all different!

    1. Hi Erica, and yes the event planners make sure there are lots of opportunities for interaction and conversation. And I always have a great time when I interact with readers!!

  3. Winnie, these are excellent examples of transitions! Some I haven't thought to try. So thank you!! I really need to take this to heart since I'm so linear. It's sometimes hard for me to let time pass for my characters! LOL

    Looks like a really fun event!

    1. LOL, I hear you on letting time pass, it can be hard to figure out what to show on the page and what to transition over

  4. Thanks for this great post, Winnie! I tend to get stuck doing the same kind of transition over and over. I'll have to try some new techniques!

    And the event looks like so much fun! I'm attending a couple next year, so I'm going to be rereading your report again to glean ideas. :-)

    1. I forgot to say that your spinner is so cute!!! Did you make it? Or where did you find it?

      Inquiring minds need to know!

    2. Yes, I LOVE reader events and this one is pretty close to home so I try to make it when I can. As far as the spinner, the author scavenger hunt at this event involves each author hosting a little game of some sort at their table. Most authors do some kind of variation on target shooting or pin the tail on the donkey as well as some really original games targeted to their books. I knew I wanted to do something tea related so I simply googled tea games. To my surprise an actual child's board game came up called tea party game ( ) so I bought one just for the cute spinner

  5. That reader event looked like a lot of fun. That was a great post on transitions, as well. Those are always useful to study. Please put me in the drawing.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post Sandy, and yes, the event was a lot of fun!

  6. The reader event looks like so much fun! I'd love to attend one someday.

    1. Hi Lee-Ann, I highly recommend it if you can ever make one!

  7. Sounds like you had a great time at your conference!


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