Tuesday, June 30, 2015

How Much Is Enough?

As I've been writing Fight Or Flight, the biggest issue I've run into is how much to include.  The first act is supposed to cover seven years, so I obviously can't detail every single thing and get it under 100,000 words.  However, it also can't be so compacted that it feels rushed and leaves out too much.

I've had problems in the past trying to figure this out, and I think a large part of it stems from my personal inclination to write a linear story.  I like to follow one person from A to B and get caught up in the minutiae.  That won't work in a take that spans years.

So what do you skip over?  What do you take for granted?  Will a time lapse dispel the tension you create?

Putting events on a kind of cruise control requires fine precision in order to maintain the illusion of tension.  Like the movie Click, skipping over too much leaves readers not caring about the details, and when readers stop caring about details, your characters, indeed your entire plot, gets caught up in apathy.

Ask yourself how large a tale you really need to tell.  Can you shorten it and still reach the end you want?  The question I'm grappling with now is whether or not to turn my three act epic novel into three separate novels.  Part of my personal stress has been in trying to complete this "one" novel by mid-August, but in reality, I'm writing three novels and mashing them into one.  When I realized that, it put things into a whole new perspective.

Tell the story you need to, but give the reader credit if you can.  Most will use their imaginations to cover blank spots.  Just make sure your whole novel isn't a blank spot.

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