Indoors, outdoors? Will your readers see it? Can you feel it, smell it, hear it? Not just the words people are saying but the other sounds around them. Choose details that will add to the feeling or action of the scene. I tend to either try to show everything or tell everything, but I have trouble switching between the two. Any advice? I just get tired of writing the story when nothing much is happening, but when I pick it back up, I feel compelled to keep writing about nothing.
Neither I nor my readers particularly care about the plot of the completely made-up movie my character is watching, and yet I describe it. Time in my stories tends to pass slowly when nothing is happening, and way too fast when things are. Katie W. You know those tension graphs teachers use to show the five parts of a plot, with the smooth rise and fall? If I drew one of those for my story, it would look like a comb.
Up and down and up and down and up and down instead of that smooth, gradual curve. We intensify the struggles rather than just compounding them. Back to the graph paraphrasing here , all that stuff about rising action is baloney. At least most of it. Readers know what the detective does not — the killer is lying in wait for him deep in the recessed shadows of the next room.
He angles the narrow flashlight beam into the darkness. Reaches the last step. And begins to search for the killer. In fact, a man walking slowly down a set of stairs might be the least amount of action for the last fifty pages — but it can be part of the climactic scene of a book because of escalating tension.
I would like to mention another very important and I think profound observation he made:. Every explosion, shootout, [and] argument… means less and less to readers because repetition short-circuits that crucial escalation that moves stories forward. Throughout, though, whether in revision or in writing our first draft, our guiding principal should be our MC. Fundamentally, our pacing hangs on this, and, in my opinion, if we keep it in mind, our pacing problems will ease up. Something—major or minor—should always be at stake for her.
We can give her breaks, for which our readers will thank us, but the main problem still has to loom. Maybe we show her thinking that she needs to buy milk on her way home. Maybe she clunks down the stairs because she believes she can. Maybe she whistles or sings a song her daughter loves. The reader is twisting in agony, mentally screaming, Wake up! Be alert, you fool! These are all extra words, but—Aaa! As we revise and as we write our first draft, we should be aware of the inner life of our MC.
The secondary characters have to be important to our MC. Their success or failure will be significant for her. A critique group or beta readers can help identify these gaps. In fact, chopping is what I do most in revision. We can tighten with tiny changes that have a cumulative effect as we keep going. Need that clause, really? One has to go. Very is a very hah! If unnecessary, cut! Our adjectives and adverbs should always be scrutinized, especially ones that minimize, like slightly and a little.
And we want to use the most powerful verbs we can find. Race is generally better than walk fast. When we snip and snip, our pace will pick up, and, as an added benefit, our prose will become more elegant. We ask ourselves if the reader already knows this about this character. If yes, cut!
Is this entire plot twist necessary? If no, cut!
Sometimes it hurts to excise bits I love, and in the process I eliminate what took months to write, but the result is a better book, and I have to do it. And I save everything I cut. She grows. She shrinks. Interesting, too. She may not like the changes or the things she witnesses, but she never suffers deeply. Nothing threatens her at her core.
See a Problem?
Alice is convinced that finding him depends on the contents of that note. She has to reach the White Rabbit. Use events in Alice in Wonderland as plot points in her effort to save her brother. Write a scene or the whole story.
If there are no movies in your world, make it a book or a saga in an oral tradition. Describe the plot.
Link it very subtly to your plot, a discovery for readers to make or not make. Give him a reason to need to get up there. Make him a thinking and feeling being, and write his story. Introduce other characters, spider or otherwise, including a villain.source site
95+ Fabulous Children's Books About Fairy Tales
Make it a cliff—or waterspout—hanger. Happy birthday, blog! Pretty cool. Yay, us!
Please take a look! On June 19, , Writing Ballerina wrote, I do need suggestions on how to write an army attack. Lewis never really explained them in much detail; while in the Lord of the Rings, armies and battles seemed to be more of the highlights of the books. Ainsley: Another book series with great battle scenes is The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander, the last book especially. These suggestions are great.
- Margaret Inc (The Margaret Series Book 2).
- Etude, Op. 45, No. 22?
- Cargill, Inc.; 02-1071/t08/04/03;
- Pleins de grâce et de verité (French Edition);
- Our pick of children’s books with dual heritage characters | fictional stories.
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I agree about reading books with battle scenes, not just fantasy books but also literary fiction. Some of you may know veterans who are willing to describe their experiences. How could I show the movement of large forces when I was writing in first person? The wide perspective is sacrificed for the particular, but it works, and readers like me care more about the POV character than we do about battalions of anonymous combatants.
So that was the approach I took in Lost Kingdom.