Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Middles - Valleys
You've driven your peak scene to the very top and have used all the tricks by making the stakes high, using verbs that drive the action, short sentences and the like making the reader breathless. This kind of writing is great but you can't continue to drive your characters in this manner without making the reader need to take a breath. This is when the middle of your story needs a valley so not only the readers but the characters can take a breath and regroup for the climax that will bring the story to the end.
Finding a valley to release some of the tension can be difficult. One great way of doing this is to change the viewpoint character. This will allow your reader to draw a breath. This used to be called "meanwhile back at the ranch." When switching to another character's viewpoint you give the reader a bit of breathing room. They must dig into another character's viewpoint and re-acquaint themselves with this character. This can also be done by softening the verbs, by changing the time limits on the goal, by lengthening the sentences.
I used this technique in "Code Blue" by switching characters from heroine, to hero, to villain all the while moving to the climax. Non-stop action can be wearing so remember when there are peaks, there must be valleys no matter what genre you've chosen. In a romance switch from the heroine to the hero. Show a bit of the normal life. Let one or more of the characters re-think what's they really want. Let them think, let them have a moment before you build to the next peak.