WHEN I WRITE PART ONE
Posted on October 8, 2012
The next few writing posts will focus on how I develop a story and what goes through my head as I write.
Rhythm, logic and progression are key elements on my mind as I write.
Rhythm is about the balance of description with dialogue, the length of the paragraphs and the length of the chapters. I prefer the Michael Crichton format to chapters – numerous and short with lots of high-impact cliffhangers. When I write, it's in one or two hour chunks and this rhythm manifests itself in the short chapters. Being able to sit down and finish a chapter in two hours is very satisfying. I can't imagine writing a chapter so long that it would take a week to write.
Logic is important to me as well. With so many of my stories dealing with magic, I always consider the logic in the way the magic works. In Ned Firebreak, Fairbanks the wizard is a lowly pun mage. The other wizards specialize in the more powerful magic of spells from scrolls or ones that emit from wands. Pun magic is the bottom rung and isn't the most reliable. When I thought of using puns, I realized it would have to be an idiom that Fairbanks would have to alter. Otherwise, if he spoke a regular idiom in conversation, it would trigger the magic. This logic helped me in fashioning some memorable spells and scenes.
Progression, in other words making sure the story moves forward with each scene, is always on my mind. Along with progression, I have to consider how many scene are pure action, pure dialogue or a mixture of both. All scenes have to be revelational to the readers and characters in some way, no matter how small, or else there isn't progression. With Ned Firebreak, I'm exploring a story where the lead character is in the dark. There is a mystery to solve and any progress is defined in large part by the clues to his identity, purpose and relations. Like my earlier work, Irving Wishbutton, Ned Firebreak is a mystery fantasy project. I never realized that this genre blending was a strength of mine until a reviewer on Amazon mentioned how much they liked the mystery format of Irving Wishbutton. Now, the same elements of mystery are helping me steer the progression of Ned.
The more I ruminate on my writing, the stronger my convictions grow to make writing a lifelong pursuit.
Be sure to check in at the end of this week for Part Two.
Part Two: Wit, warmth and worry are three considerations on my mind as I write.
Part Three: Happy accidents are always being searched for as I write because it takes the story details and ties them together with more substance and intent.