1. RowenaFW
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    RowenaFW Member

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    Hiding From My Writing...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by RowenaFW, Apr 9, 2012.

    I'm redrafting. Having to read through chapter 28, which needs very little work, but I'm finding it hard going and really struggling to keep on. It's not the writing - but the topic: in this chapter a woman is giving birth and it's all going slowly and horribly wrong. There's a bit of back story which makes it even more gruelling, and I'm just finding myself exhausted after a few lines.

    Does this mean other people will struggle to read it? They, at least, won't know the outcome, and it's quite an important part in the plot. Concerned. Shattered. Anyone else get this?
     
  2. Erato
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    Erato Contributing Member

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    People will rarely struggle to read anything. They'll either read it or they'll toss it aside, yawning.

    Do not describe every contraction or you'll be writing for years and no one will read it. Do not skim over the section with a rough "It was a long and arduous business" that tells the reader nothing. It's a delicate balance that must be struck between telling everything and telling nothing; somewhere in there, there's a happy medium. Some guidelines? Vary things from time to time. Don't make it seem like a temporal loop out of Star Trek. Have someone arrive or leave; maybe one serious change in atmosphere; whatever you want to keep every sentence fresh and interesting.

    And... if you never tell the readers what the outcome was, they'll be left scratching their heads. They'll rightly wonder what was the whole point of that whole section. They'll be dissatisfied. Your excuses might be: That's for a sequel. Or, But she wasn't a major character. Or, no one knows the outcome. But. If it's for a sequel, that makes it sound like the sequel rests on the shoulders of this tiny baby - who might not exist. So we're reading the sequel just to find out if he exists. And if he doesn't, we will laugh. If she wasn't a major character, then there's absolutely no point in keeping it a secret; we might as well know, and know how it affects the MC(s). And if no one knows the outcome, who's telling about the birth?

    I don't know exactly how you're telling the story; maybe it's fine and well done. But think carefully.
     
  3. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    I did the same thing last night at 2:00AM. My sticking point was a scene showing senseless violence. It was hard to write and then proofread, and thankfully it's the only scene like that which appears in the story.

    But like childbirth, you have to live through it to get it behind you. And that scene affects my lead. I know these scenes are tough but worth it, and you just have to do your job and write the best story you can.
     
  4. RowenaFW
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    RowenaFW Member

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    Thanks Erato.

    I have read the extract to people/sent it to be read, mostly for medical imput, and nobody said they struggled with it, but I never did when I drafted it before.

    Don't worry, I haven't described every contraction. :p It is quite long, but I do introduce a new character, reveal something new about an old character and run some blood transfusions. I was aiming for something a bit like the last attempts to save Lucy in 'Dracula'.

    You also misunderstood me slightly -

    I do tell the readers the outcome - would be very odd if I didn't, and the plot depends on it. What I meant was, I'm reading this, knowing that it's going to end badly, and feeling like I just don't want to read all this knowing what happens. I don't tell in advance, though. The readers shouldn't know what happens, unless they are re-reading or skipped ahead, so half of this problem won't exist.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    erato's advice is pretty good...

    as one who's been through it 7 times, i'd only add that if you haven't given birth yourself, or watched the process up close more than once, you'd better consult some actual moms about what actually goes on, how it feels, and so on, so you won't lose readers due to a laughable lack of authenticity...
     
  6. RowenaFW
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    RowenaFW Member

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    Tourist - good to know the same thing can happen with other kinds of scene.

    mammamaia - authenticity is certainly a concern of mine, which is one reason I've shown it to others and asked advice. My mum also talked through everything that happened at my birth with me, which would have gone wrong without the intervention of modern medicine.

    However, the scene is additionally complicated by being seen by the POV of the MC, not the woman giving birth... And the MC is very naive and constantly makes incorrect assumptions about things (that at least is well established by this point in the story).

    Very impressed with 7 births - well done!
     

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