Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Eileen Charbonneau - Elements of the Novel
Once again I'm reading the Elements of the Novel written by Eileen Charbonneau. This chapter talks about Structure. "Every novel, even the most experimental, has a structure." This is something we can see every time we read a book or hear a story. So what is the structure. Beginning, Middle and Ending.
Sounds simple and it is unless you're the kind of person who likes to complicate matters. The Beginning is where the characters, their goals and motives are set forth. As Eileen says. "The beginning is a promise." I know there have been times while judging contests that I've been fooled and one kind of story I thought I was reading turned into another kind. A contemporary romance suddenly becomes a paranormal or something else entirely. So with the beginning remember what you're trying to do. Don't prolong the beginning. Generations ago writers wrote long books and they had more room for their beginnings. Things happen faster now. So make sure you have all the points plus showing the setting and the kind of story you're writing in those first few chapters.
The middle is a time of complications but not ones that go all over the place. The middle should be a series of escalating events leading to the ending. Here's the place where the characters, setting and plot are explored. Here's what Eileen says about the Middle. "To deepen and expand your story without losing its pace." So here you must make sure each scene leads to the next, and making sure you don't have repeated scenes, characters with the same purpose or scenes that slow the pace.
Now comes the End. Eileen's advice. "To resolve and satisfy while seeming inevitable." May seem hard but I know I've read books where the ending didn't satisfy me or where it semed forced. Another thing is loose ends need to be resolved. Just recently I was reaching the of my current work in purpose and I found I'd left an strand waving in the air and not tied down. I needed to make sure this end was woven into the other parts of the ending and was logical.
Being a draft writer, I find I spend a lot of time honing the beginning or my stories and as much on the end. Sometimes finding that proper last sentence is hard, especially if you're dealing with a character who is part of a series. You want the reader to reach for the next book or if they've found your series in the middle to want to go back to the beginning.