Creative Writing Phrases

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In his wonderful novel Brooklyn, Colm Toibin uses this type of transition at the start of many new scenes, with examples such as: One day at dinnertime Rose... 22)."One day" is non-specific, but nevertheless indicates that a number of days have passed and that the new scene takes place at dinnertime.

In another example from Brooklyn a new scene opens, One morning, when she had been there for three weeks and was on her fourth... From this we learn that the scene takes place in the morning and that three weeks have passed since the character started her new job.

You may also write transitions using speech or actions that accelerate or slow the pace of your story.

For example, John bolted from the car and up the front steps of the house, has a much different effect than this opening: John slipped from the car and checked to make sure all the doors were locked.

Then, halfway through page 39, another new scene begins: It was difficult to carry her suitcases down the narrow stairs of the liner and Eilis had to move sideways on the corridor as she followed the signs that led to her berth.

The previous scene ends with a conversation between Eilis and her brother, so this single sentence at the start of this new scene serves as a cleverly written transition that not only indicates her new location (on board the ocean liner) but also shows a shift in her mood, as she must suddenly cope on her own in this foreign setting.) ~ Saved by the bell ~ Raining Cats and Dogs ~ Have your cake and eat it too ~ Cock and Bull story ~ A piece of cake ~ Add Fuel to Fire ~ All in the same boat ~ Back to Square One ~ Bend Over Backwards ~ Avoid Like the Plague ~ Once in a Blue Moon ~ Come Hell of High Water ~ Dropping like Flies Field Day ~ Finding Your Feet ~ Crying over spilt milk ~ Have an Axe to grind ~ Hit the nail on the head” Or, if you find a really interesting idiom or phrase that has been out of circulation for a while, you can bring it back.I really like saying, “Excuse my French” when I want to break into expletives (ladylike and all that can take a….er, excuse my French!At the top of page 38, another scene opens: They moved around the city centre, slowly becoming more relaxed...This indicates that the scene takes place in Liverpool and that the protagonist, Eilis, and her brother walk around the city, as they slowly get comfortable with each other.They may use special "transition" words, or they may not, so I've included examples of both methods here.The secret to good transitions is to make them so natural that the reader hardly notices them. However your story unfolds in time (over hours, days, months or years) perhaps the most common type of transition is some transition word or phrase that indicates the amount of time that has passed, such as: A week later, Tom boarded a bus for Winnipeg.Review a novel you admire and look at the opening of any chapter after the first one. Now examine two back-to-back scenes and note which transitional words and phrases join them. When it comes to creative writing, many of the phrases that are commonly used (especially by new writers and authors) are anything but creative. Now, let’s try that again: He heard the rumble of metal and concrete and an unusually loud whirring.Study the novel Brooklyn for numerous examples of skillful writing transitions.In a story with multiple points of view, transitional words may be used to move smoothly from one character's point of view to another.


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