Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Self-editing masterclass snapshots: Characters are grief stricken – how do I stop that becoming monotonous?


Roz really comes through in this Re-blog…

She brings up what John C. Gardner called “Profluence”—part “Pacing”, part “Progress”…

Nail Your Novel

guardgrief-stricken characterI’m running a series of the smartest questions from my recent Guardian self-editing masterclass for novelists. Previous posts have discussed how much extra material we might write that never makes the final wordcount, and how to flesh out a draft that’s too short. Today I’m looking at an interesting problem of pacing:

Characters are grief stricken – how do I stop that becoming monotonous?

One student had a story in which the characters are coping with the death of a close family member. How, she said, could she keep the new developments coming, as the grief process would take many months?

We’d been talking about pacing the story, and how it was crucial to be aware of change. Each scene should present the reader with something new, to keep the sense that the narrative is moving on. That change could be big or small – a major twist…

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