October 25, 2007 by Tracey S. Rosenberg
On the heels of my last post: last year I read William Noble’s Conflict, Action and Suspense (one of the Writer’s Digest series). This book made such an impression on me that I didn’t remember having read it until I checked my List of Books Read.
However, skimming it again proves my point that such books work best for me when I have an active project. I skimmed because there was no need to reread – some of it’s a recap of Good Writing 101 (blah blah action verbs) – but
a few several hours later I was at my computer, looking at the notes I’d jotted down and saying, aha! That part where the soldier pulls a gun on a teenaged girl and then someone else intervenes? Why don’t we…stop the scene, right here when the pistol is pointing straight at her chest. And then shift to the other main character’s POV, where she’s got her own problem going on. Wouldn’t THAT be a lot more interesting than just going straight through? Why yes, it would.
Then, as a bonus, tinkering with it all meant that I was able to cut out a lot of dreary getting-from-A-to-B movement. One of my major problems is the tendency to make all my characters open the doors. They don’t HAVE to open every door. And this sounds like the intro to a musical number, so it’s probably a good time to go start making dinner.