Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A bit of Inspiration

I did a bit on plotting last Friday but while reading On Becoming an Author, John Gardner, I read a sentence that resonated with me. "Plot is not a series of surprises, but a series of recognitions or moments of understanding." Sometimes when writing and struggling to get the words on paper, I know there are moments when I suddenly see what I was meaning to say. That often means going back and removing a scene or a short passage that jumped in when it brought no understanding to what I was meaning to say.

Sometimes the writer knows what they mean but they've managed to obscure the understanding from the reader. Not letting the reader know what's coming and blindsiding them can make them turn away from the story. Try to think of the reader as a partner and let them in on the secrets you hold from the characters. Leave the surprises for the characters to reach a moment of recognition or understanding.

2 comments:

Wendy Marcus said...

Thank you for this post, Janet. I found it very...inspirational!

Taryn Kincaid said...

I have sort of mixed feelings about the reader as partner. Or co-conspirator. Hints and foreshadowing are one thing, but I think, if you let the reader in on things you've withheld from your characters, you run the risk of making your characters TSTL. At which point your ex-partner has thrown your book against the wall.