Current Release

Current Release
The Warrior's Viking Bride

Monday, January 19, 2009

Happening on stage

Sometimes as a reader, you need to see things happen on stage. Important bits of info, even though it might not be the main action need to be there or the reader feels cheated. I was reading a book at the weekend and this fact really struck home. There was an important heart wringing subplot that was tied up offstage as it were and it had been something that I was interested as a reader to see. Cue disappointment and the reinforcement of an important lesson. Readers do ask questions and wonder, particularly when things have been set up...
I do need to remember that opportunities for good narrative action should not go to waste. Subplots should also always feed into the main plot. Climaxes in important subplots need to affect turning points in a profound way.
Also -- motivations should grow and change as the plot progress. This helps to show character growth. Turning points should change characters and their relationships.

Writing can be such fun at times. And I know with my own writing -- I may know the concept and good practice, but then why don't I apply them? Why do I like being nice to be my characters? Sometimes there is a temptation to not want to bleed.
This week I need to write. Last week my progress was not good.


Donna Alward said...


OK OK I get the hint! *mutters darkly* I hate it when you're right....

Julie Cohen said...

Hmm, Donna, was there a coded message for you in there? :-)

On the other hand, sometimes there's a use for circumspection and brevity, for telling and not showing, for things happening offstage. I finished reading Nancy Mitford's The Pursuit of Love last night and that has an extraordinary ending—everything is wrapped up in a hurry in the last page, and the heroine's fate is told in three words. The crucial scene isn't shown at all, and a minor character is given the last line. It should be a disappointment, and it is a bit because of what happens, but it also sums up the book in the most elegant, thought-provoking way.

Sometimes I reckon we really don't know what works until we try it and it doesn't.

Julie Cohen said...

(Or it does, if we're lucky.)

Michelle Styles said...

People who try to read things into things sheesh.
It is not a coded message for Donna. I am far too blunt. Besides she already knew the need to bleed.

It was truly a book I read where I wanted certain things to appear. They didn't. It was obvious that they had been sewn up offstage, but the emotions were not there.

And I do know that offstage can be more effective -- for example in King Lear when the eyes are put out. In this case, it was something that needed to be onstage imho. And it reminded me not to cheat. SOmetimes I have a habit of not wanting to bleed.

liz fenwick said...

good post and thought provoking discussion :-)