Writers traditionally get stuck in a couple places in their writing: in the beginning when they are trying to discover or develop their lead (lede), in the end when they are searching for just the right conclusion and at transition points throughout the article when they are tasked with introducing a new idea.
A good transition is like a listening to a great band or DJ. The music just flows from one song to another and all you notice is how good the music sounds. Bad transitions can feel like walking into a pole in the middle of a sidewalk. Jarred, the reader looks up and asks, “Where in the world did that come from?” as they stagger through the next set of ideas.
Transitions can be tricky and at times you need to look over the entire article to see where information fits and if you can rearrange information in a way that creates a better flow and easier transition. Ask yourself, “Where does the story/article naturally progress? What would a reader ask next?” Taking a moment to look at it from a reader’s perspective could be enough to illuminate the article’s pathway and make writing transitions easier.
One can choose to make transitions by using headers and bullet points. Some ideas will not flow naturally from one to the other and headers and bullet points are clear indicators that the article is going to move in another direction – a road map so to speak. Here is an article on using bullet points properly: “Bullets Make the Point.”
Quotes are another option for transitions. A good quote can be just what an article needs to introduce a new opinion, subject or direction. Remember, you don’t want to throw just any old quote in an article. The quote has to contribute to the article, give it a boost, a human voice, etc. “Say What?” A Quick Guide to Using Quotes” is a good place to explore how to pick and use quotes.
Got any transition tips? Have any questions? Write it below, I’d like to hear from you!