Not around for a little while. Back soon.
Busy polishing my current novel in progress.
The story falls in the crime/thriller genre and therefore needs genuine excitement and fear. I find these hard to convey at times. For instance, should a writer pull out all the stops and make the section in question as thrilling as possible? Or does less work better, leaving the reader to visualise the rest in their mind?
The following is an excerpt from my novel, pretty early on in the story.
‘Sure.’ I give Mel a mock salute and leave, taking the lift down to the ground floor. When I step into the entrance hall, the same creepy silence from earlier greets me, interrupted only by the steady tap of drizzle on the glass dome in the ceiling. I’m standing in darkness. All the lights have gone out. I try one of the switches on the wall. Nothing happens. Odd. For a second or two, I think I hear footsteps on one of the balconies.
‘Hello?’ I call up in the darkness.
The evening has turned chilly with the scent of damp fields and manure lingering in the air. The surrounding hills appear small in the fading daylight and tiny lights come from distant houses. I cross the grass plain. Stop.
Footsteps behind me.
I swing round. ‘Hello?’
No one there. Just a branch blowing in the wind.
Resume my walk.
Still busy ploughing through my novel, cutting redundant scenes that have no purpose at all in the story and upping the psychological immediacy throughout.
Psychological immediacy requires careful control. As creative writing instructors like to say, less is best. A few simple sentences that evoke powerful images in the reader’s mind without the writer having to do much work. Trying too hard destroys psychological immediacy. Sentences that create psychological immediacy should come naturally.
I’ve also cut a viewpoint character. The character in question appears in a couple of scenes, but those scenes don’t add to the story, just slow the pace. Plus, other, more dramatic scenes, bring out the same aspects of the story.
I’m 47, 000 words in the novel, about halfway through. The novel falls into the crme genre, with an emphasis on psychological thriller. The second half has a lot of challenges and I still haven’t decided exactly how to proceed with the progression of events, so I’m reading through the first half and making notes.
Difficult, but rewarding.
I haven’t written much here lately. Busy elsewhere. I’ve been working on the first one hundred pages of my novel and following the Editor’s Report.
One issue that came up in the Report focused on allowing scenes to reach their natural development rather than trying to force the drama. This often happens when the author has plans for a major character, plans which the character wouldn’t usually follow. A bit like the debate in Theology: Free Will versus Predestination – i.e. who’s in the charge here: the writer or the character in question?
I’ve also dealt with some redundant sections. You know the sort, writing that neither helps nor hinders the novel. The story wouldn’t suffer if those sections were to go.
The central part of the novel needs the most work in terms of pacing and plot – so I’m bracing myself.
Chopin Revolutionary Etude: http://youtu.be/0bFKV7WY12I
The writing process seems never-ending, and once again I’m at the stage of polishing my manuscript, this time allowing the characters to come alive in more vivid ways than before.
A writer often has to experiment with the points raised in a professional critique. Incorporating all the ideas on a page by page basis raises the possibility of damaging the overall story and knocking the structure off-balance. Yet, the writer has to implement some of the advice – otherwise why pay for the advice?
With my novel, I think, the solution lies in allowing some sections of the writing to develop even further without the changes causing a knock on effect with the structure – in particular, concentrating on natural type dialogue that helps the reader better identify with the characters in question. Also, cutting superfluous phrases or sentences – i.e. redundancies – will tighten up a manuscript.
Just a few of my thoughts.