” A rest is an interval of silence in a piece of music, marked by a symbol indicating the length of the pause.” (wiki)
This picture brought on the idea for this post- what writing felonies have you committed?
What did you do when writing that first book or when you started writing stories before you learned about rules, craft, grammar?
Let me go first
1. Prologues- I loved prologues. Every story I wrote had a prologue (I’ll talk about this later on in the week with a where to start your story post). I blame it on too much crime television – Law and Order- that snippet when the show starts, my ideas come to me that way somewhere in the middle or the end of the story, never really the beginning. I didn’t realize that idea was not the best place to start my story. See, I also fell into the trap of starting in the middle of an action scene without readers knowing much about the character. Therefore, they didn’t care… whoops!
2. Point of view- The more the merrier and yes I plead guilty to head hopping within a scene/chapter. I was not guilty of switching perspectives, that is from 1st to 3rd limited or omniscient etc. in a chapter though.
3. Pace- This was a tough one. At first, I confessed to crime of brevity, that my stories were too short. I envied people whose first drafts are 100k+ and then during revisions they trim the fat. The real problem was pacing.
What I learned after “doing time” ? (Research, having people read my work…)
1. Prologue- Do I really need the backstory? A strong first page that begins my story will usually serve me better
2. Point of View- Absolutely no head hopping. Don’t Do It. Decide your main characters from the beginning and who should be telling the story. It is fine to have two narrators even three (Suzanne Brockmann does this well). Planning is key!
3. Pacing- Writing short is not a crime (Novellas, flash fiction.) The problem was if I tried to put in all the descriptions and trimmings during my first draft, I got bored with the story and I didn’t finish it. I learned it was fine to write it all the way through, short and quick and once I was happy with the plot, I put in the meat during my first edit. Once that was done, I solved the pacing problem.
So friends, share your writing felonies and here are some resources
- 10 ways to strengthen your beginning K.M.Wieland
- Prologues Roni Loren
- What Kind of First Chapter Writer are You? Roni Loren
- Evaluating Your First Page Jane Friedman
Point of View
- Head-hopping: How to Avoid Making Your Reader Dizzy Roni Loren
- POV-advantages and pitfalls Roni Loren
- Deep POV
- Maximize your WordCount– Terrible Minds
- Going from 2k to 10k words a day SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America)