Continuing my NaNo Writing Sins posts.
Giving the Game Away too early
Ok so in my writing I have started to notice that I feel the the need to explain too much and explain it too early in the story. Once again becuase I have stewed this story I have had a chance to see the faults at the structural level rather than the finished level. It has been very enlightening.
I’m sure by now I know the following points as well as the next writer…
- Readers don’t need the info dump
- If the really really need the info don’t give it to them in one indigestible lump
- KEEP THE CONFLICT AND KEEP THE TENSION = Happy reader
I noticed that I was explaining things too early in the book. For example. If someone went missing, there was an explanation scene very soon after explaining what happened. WRONG –> keep them guessing
HOW HAVE I FIXED THIS?
The Conflict/Tension List:
Evangaline got thrown out into the streets in chapter one –> kept any knowledge of her till right at the end of the book (rather than 1/2 way through) in fact I might even save this info for book two.
The girls know that Katherine is different. –> we pick up on this the whole way through but the reasons don’t come till quite at the end when the Professor explains it to her. (Rather than Katherine guessing at the reasons early in the book)
Clara is missing –> I removed all the really heavy “where is Clara” from early in the plot as MC won’t know there could be a serious problem with her friend. Katherine eventually finds what happened to Clara about 1/3 the way through. However the tension is continued as she can’t free Clara at that time. When she does, Clara has been badly traumatised and the reader will be left concerned about her future.
Sophia –> General conflict between the two girls. Sophia is always creating problems for Katherine
Main Protagonist –> I was planning on writing a scene where the goals of the protagonist where clearly displayed. I removed this scene. We know he is bad. We know he is planning something big. We know that it is related to some sort of plan to take over the city or government or royalty. We know he is manipulating and keeping young girls against their will. However I have removed the scene that explains this. For the moment I decided that he was much better as this mysterious figure that was just evil, and we are not sure just how much. –> Fear of the unknown is much harder to deal with that fear of the known. I think it will add suspense. The actual specific plot will come out in book II. (I saw this work quite well in Clockwork Angel by Cassie Clare.) We shall see.
Eleanor and the Master –> I added in a conflict mini subplot here. Which I am surprised I didn’t think of earlier! Eleanor has a young man trying to break her out of the Establishment. (that was always there) How much more motivating is it if she is the object of the Master’s affection. Especially with the hint at how he treats some of the older girls. Eleanor was always the beautiful graceful quiet one. Most likely to be an ‘object of affection’.
Katherine’s initial dislike of Ned was resolved too early in the plot. I have continued this dislike much farther into the book and increased the potential for conflict between Ned and the Master’s son.
Eleanor seems to silently oppose Katherine’s plans. –> I had planned on Eleanor confiding to Katherine early on in the plot about her secret love affair and plans to escape. However I have kept the two girls in wary opposition right through to the last quarter of the book. I think this will work lots better.
Obviously there are a lot more, these are just the main ones (Or ones I could think of)
Being able to think about the plot in this was has really helped me examine and tease out the structure of the book. While I am sure that while I was writing the book I would have realised the tension needed ramming up a little, i would prefer to have a more detailed plan rather than having to fix things up. This method has really helped me see the structure, the bare bones of the plot. I have seen a problem and have tried to fix it before I started to write. I hope that this will help the first draft to be a lot tighter.
Coupled with reading James Scott Bell’s Book, On Plot and Structure, I really think this mini pre writing exercise has helped me understand plot elements and story construction a little better. Hopefully it will improved the writing as well.
I really must appologise for being offline for nearly 3 weeks. We moved house rather suddenly and the internet was only just installed 2 days ago. Basically the internet company buggered up and connected a house in NSW rather than here in QLD. It was a REALLY big stuff up on their behalf and has taken the best part of two weeks to fix. However it appears to be fixed now and I am back online.
We are now in the new house:-) Horray!! –> Spa pool included outside and it is awesome!
We have no furniture of course, but hey, I don’t need a couch or a flat screen TV. As long as I have binocular’s to see the minuscule TV screen that is ok. Besides I watch about 2 hours of TV a week, if that!