Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Wednesday's Writer's Tip ala Orson Scott Card
Once again I'm digging through Orson Scott Card's How To Write Science Fiction and Fantasy for my hint of today. How does one know which of the patterns of construction spoken about in this book? "You must end the story the way you begin." is one word of advice that's helpful. Starting out with a Mileau story and ending in a Character story will confuse the reader. Reader confusion is to be avoided. But the development of the story type follows throughout the writing of the story.
Have you ever begun a story and partway through have found you can go no further? You may have chosen the wrong pattern. You need to sit back and look at how you've decided to tell the story and perhaps make a change. All stories could emerge using one of the four types Orson Scott Card mentions but one is right for the story, or perhaps right for the author.
To keep the reader reading there has to be suspense. Is suspense created by withholding information? Sort of but it doesn't mean hiding every scrap of information but in keeping a small secret and letting the reader know most of the facts. "There is no tension without information." This struck home, especially when I'm writing. What happens next? How is the character reaching the end? Knowing how the story will end keeps the writer moving forward. Step by step the reader should follow the characters and learn what they have discovered making them wonder what will happen next as the story builds to the climax.
So when you're deciding how to tell your story decide if it's a Mileau, an Idea, a Character or an Idea story structure you're telling. If you're wrong, don't toss the story aside, look at it again and change the focus or pattern and try again.