Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Still In The Middle

When re-reading Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V Swain, I've been exploring what to do when the middle lags, sags or pulls me to a halt. This quote made me sit up and say OH, yes.

"Drop a corpse through the roof."  Does this literally mean throwing a body into the story. Then it came to me. What Mr. Swain means is throw in something that's totally unexpected. Of course, this shouldn't be completely something new to the author but a new reason to drive the story forward.

This is the moment, for me when I'm thinking the story is losing steam and suddenly a twist on one of the elements arises. I think, oh, yes, this has to go in. This is the reason to move to the next peak in the story. For me this often happens when I'm telling myself the story by writing what I call is the chapter synopsis, a guide to keep me moving forward to the end. Sometimes what happens surprises me but I know this is what will help me drive the story to the end.

What sort of things does this mean? The arrival of someone with some information the hero or heroine needs to know. The sight of something startling that drives the story toward the end. Such a moment occurred when writing Code Blue. I was chugging toward the end and the villain is waiting for the heroine. He ahs been leaving her gifts as each person she knows is killed. They seem innocent but of course they're not. Then she comes home from her three to eleven shift at the hospital to find a nightgown hanging on her porch, swaying in the breeze. Then she knows and she is terrified. That nightgown drives the story to the climax.

So don't be afraid to throw in something unexpected, something that changes innocence to danger. "Drop a corpse through the roof."


Melissa Keir said...

It is really important that what happens is vital to the story. We can't have corpses dropping through the roof and visiting before they float away. :)

Melissa Keir said...
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