1. benfromcanada
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    benfromcanada Member

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    How fast is too fast?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by benfromcanada, Jul 11, 2011.

    Here's the scenario: I am hoping to make a sort of thriller type of story/book. I essentially want to get to the place where all the good stuff happens while getting some bursts of character development...but I think I may be going too fast. I've already gone through about 5 scenes in just over 4 pages in MS Word. Granted, that's more than that is converted to a smaller book, but still...I went from a couple arguing over bills and discovering that the woman's great-aunt died and left her something in the will, to a short driving scene to build up the characters a bit more, then the reading (literally a paragraph and a bit) and a short dinner, followed by a discussion in their car...all in about 4 pages in MS Word 12 point Times New Roman.

    Does this feel rushed? Is it justifiable, since the crux of the story comes after they move to the house they inherited? I definitely don't have a full picture of both the main characters revealed, but I've shown a bit...anyway, based on what I've described, do you think I'm going too fast?
     
  2. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    It seems a little quick. I would ask myself what is the point of the drive, the arguing, the dinner, etc? Why not just start at the reading of the will? Or better yet start with them buying the house or moving into the house and fit the backstory in where you can? If it feels like you're rushing to get where it really "starts" you should probably just start it there...

    (I can't be entirely sure of course, cause I'm not reading it :p Just going by your own description)
     
  3. Blue_Lotus
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    Blue_Lotus Senior Member

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    you know I had my first real editorial review and the work was some 3 chapters long at that time and I was told it was "rushed" How thay got that idea in 27000 words or more was, at the time beyond me. However, that being said I came to see that they were right (in my own time) Sometimes the best thing you can do is sleep on it for a while. Ideas will come to you re read the work after a few weeks and you might see where it can be improved, you might also wish to ask some near and dear friend(s) who is/are book wise to give it a once over. :)

    Hope that helps, Best of luck.
    ~BL~
     
  4. benfromcanada
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    benfromcanada Member

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    Well, you can read the first little bit on my weblog (hit the Clarion Write-A-Thon link on the right side and scroll a bit down). I'm trying to establish their characters a little, show some continuity (i.e. not just jump around) and establish that Kat doesn't want to move there, why she doesn't, and why she's essentially forced to. It's important, but not as important, in my mind, as what happens when they get there.

    The big problem with "sleeping on it" is that I've done that long enough and have little free time to waste. I need to actually work on it else I'll never get anything done.
     
  5. Blue_Lotus
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    Blue_Lotus Senior Member

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    Oh don't stop writting love, in fact keep truckin' the way you are now.
    Later you should re read your work anyhow, time like this can give a bit of prespective. As such if you are anything like myself you will have forgotten the finner points you penned 7 chapters later ;)

    ~BL~
     
  6. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I read a bit of the excerpt, and I think that there's too much background and explanation, too little dialogue and activity. You're not trusting your reader to interpret and understand what's going on, and if you don't give them that job, they're not going to be committed to the story.

    ChickenFreak
     
  7. benfromcanada
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    benfromcanada Member

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    Don't want to sound thin skinned, but I did put a fair bit of dialogue and some action in that first scene...
     
  8. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's there, but there's also an awful lot of explanation of things that I think that we'd be better off learning from action and dialog. I'm going to step away from your story and make up my own example:

    Jane followed John to the den. As he opened the door, she said, "Surprise!"

    John paused in the doorway, surveying the expanse of shining wood. His hands clenched around the keys in his pocket. "You cleaned my desk."

    Jane nodded happily. "Yes. I know you've been busy, so I though that it would help to have all your things filed away properly. And doesn't the room look nice?"

    John released the keys and took a breath. Then another. Finally, "Thank you so much, dear. If you'll excuse me, I have some work to do here."


    There's some ambiguity here. Is the scene better if we eliminate all of it and tell the reader everything that the characters are thinking? Edited to add: I'm presenting the new explanation sections in a different color.

    Jane followed John to the den. As he opened the door, she said, "Surprise!" She'd spent all afternoon cleaning his desk and filing his papers. Surely he'd appreciate her effort, she thought. She'd done it before and he'd been angry, but this would be different. After all, he had a duty to keep the house looking nice, just like she did. And he should be using a sensible filing system.

    John paused in the doorway, surveying the expanse of shining wood. His hands clenched around the keys in his pocket. "You cleaned my desk." He kept his voice calm, despite the fury bubbling in his head. She'd done this before. She couldn't respect his work space, couldn't appreciate that his style helped to contribute to his work.

    Jane nodded happily. "Yes. I know you've been busy, so I though that it would help to have all your things filed away properly. And doesn't the room look nice?" She was disappointed that he failed to show his appreciation, but gave him one more chance.

    John released the keys and took a breath. Then another. Finally, "Thank you so much, dear. If you'll excuse me, I have some work to do here." If he didn't thank her, she'd stay until he did, and he needed to get her out of the room before he irretrievably lost his temper. And he needed to dig his current papers out of the files. God knows where she'd put them.


    In my opinion, the second scene, with its determined scrubbing out of all ambiguity, is much worse. The first one has some tension and at least a little uncertainty; the second one takes the reader by the hand and ensures that they don't feel that tension, uncertainty, or suspense. It takes the reader's role, as witness and interpreter and judge, away from them, and leaves them with nothing to do.

    Now, these are quickly scribbled scenes and they may not be good examples, but in my opinion if the first scene doesn't have that tension, my job isn't to explain that there's conflict, it's to write more skillfully so that the conflict can be seen. Edited to add: I think that all of those brick-red words up there are unneeded and redundant explanation that takes away from the scene, rather than adding to it.

    ChickenFreak
     
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  9. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Why don't you write the action filled part first, then, even though it's not going to happen until later, and then you back a few steps and write the beginning, maybe now that you've written the scenes you were longing to write you might be able to concentrate on the slower parts. OR you do as Trish (?) said and just start with the action right away.
     
  10. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    You should read some books by Andy McDermott. The first one ("Hunt for Atlantis") has a decent, normal pace. The rest... let's just say The Flash would be embarrased. :D There's an insane amount of action in most of his books, but even so he manage to develop both the characters and story quite well and made me care what happened next. In fact, I've pre-ordered his next book. That's the third or fourth books I've ever pre-ordered, and that says a bit coming from a guy with his own library. ;)
     
  11. benfromcanada
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    benfromcanada Member

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    You know, you're right, ChickenFreak. I think after finishing the whole story I'll get that fixed on rewrites, and do my best to avoid repeating that mistake in future parts of this story.

    I find it hard to write in any way other than linearly. Writing out one chunk of the story (as opposed to deciding in my head "this is what I want to happen") is unnatural to me. I don't know how to overcome that. Do any of you know how to do that?
     
  12. Blue_Lotus
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    Blue_Lotus Senior Member

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    I use outlines, I outline the main points I wish to express then I add sub points to the headers of the main points such as what background plot I wish to insert who is new to the story line etc...
    But my work has taken 12 yrs to get to the penning stage and has hundreds of charaters dozens of plots and subplots and delves deeply into murkey waters of human existance.

    However when I taught; I taught my students to do one of three things.
    A) Make an outline
    B) make a webmap of ideas
    C) Just write what comes to you and merge them into a bigger work after you have figured out the finner points.

    There is no right way or wrong way to get from point A to B.
    I offer a quote that sums this up nicely :)
    "You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist." - Friedrich Nietzsche
     
  13. [ESCAPE]
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    [ESCAPE] Member

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    That is pretty fast.
    Try adding a couple paragraphs of more detail between the scenes. I think just 2-4 between each would do the trick.
     

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