A Writing Lesson from DJs

My best friend got married last weekend, and I have to say: her DJ was lit.

Not only did he play Salt-N-Pepa twice, but his transitions were perfect. When Montell sang, “Let’s flip the track, bring the old school back,” Backstreet Boys’ “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” started playing. Something equally genius happened when Miley Cyrus sang, “And a Britney song was on” and “One More Time” came on. Basically, not only did the songs seamlessly blend together, but they were cleverly transitioned.

Everyone was on the dance floor the whole night.

I also have seen the opposite of this.

One of my husband’s friends had a wedding where the DJ would literally play thirty seconds of a song and then immediately jump to another song that had nothing to do with the song that was just played. For example, he would play disco and then immediately jump to country.

Nobody was on the dance floor.

The point? Transitions matter. 

The same goes for your writing.

One of the biggest issues I see as an editor is that my clients use weak transitions or none at all. This is equally true for fiction and non-fiction.

What does this look like?

In fiction, it is when a character is at school talking to his friends and then suddenly he is at home playing video games. In nonfiction, the writer spends five pages discussing how important sleep is for your body and then jumps to talking about your diet out of nowhere.

When this happens, people are as confused as they are when they watch The Room. They scratch their heads and say, “What is going on?”

You don’t want that.

How do you prevent it?

When you are editing your manuscript, look for places where you randomly jump to another scene or idea. When you notice that, you can add a transition or put the information in a new chapter.

How do you add a new transition? It isn’t that hard. You can either add a paragraph where the character travels to a new location or you explain how your two ideas relate to each other. Or it can be simple as adding “The next day…”  or “In contrast…”

If you transitions are as good as my best friend’s DJ’s, you will have your readers turning the page all night long.

Need help with your transitions? My team and I would love to help


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