Monday, January 25, 2016

Wearing Three Hats While Revising #AmWriting #Motivation

One of the biggest issues I find when I'm working with clients is that they like to argue "big picture" with me. I will be commenting on a specific drop in plot or characterization in a scene and will hear, "but later on--in book two--that will all make sense."

Umm...sorry. If you want the reader to stay with you until book two, then you as the author need to remain in the moment. You need to revise as if you are three people simultaneously--architect of the story, character, and reader.

How would the character react in that moment? Remember that the character does not know what you know as the author. They are being compelled by your creativity and vision. Their reactions must be believable to the actions occurring and the information that they have at that moment in that scene.

Will the reader believe that the cause and effect of this scene? Trust me when I say that readers are fickle. If they're into your story but you do something so unrealistic or unforgivable in chapter sixteen, they will put down the book and never return. If your character's family was just murdered and the character was threatened by a specific person yet says nothing...does nothing...has a burger with the "suspect" as if everything is fine--maybe even cries in his arms despite knowing that he is ninety-nine percent most likely the murderer--is that believable? Will the readers believe this reaction based on how you've characterized the protagonist to this point?

Yes, you the author may know that the "suspect" is indeed innocent--but if the character has been afraid, if the threats were made, if the kids were killed in their sleep and the house went up in flames, and the protagonist only has one known enemy--do the actions of the character in that moment support the story thus far?

The last thing you want a reader to do is stop trusting you as the author.

It's always good to know where your story is headed, but you must remember that only you have that information until the reader turns the last page. It's your job as the writer to keep the action going, the characters in a "need-to-know" status, and the actions/reactions both believable for the circumstance.

As you revise, keep those three perspectives in balance. You are the omniscient god of your creative world, but the characters are living it, and the readers are experiencing it. Make sure you don't miss some key reactions and actions simply because you already know the ending.

Write on!
Amber Lea Easton
http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com 

Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published author of nonfiction, thrillers, and romantic suspense. A professional editor and freelance journalist for nearly two decades, she created Mountain Moxie Publishing Services to assist authors in mastering the writing craft. Her memoir, Free Fall, is dedicated to spreading suicide awareness, has topped international best selling charts, and has been named by Dr. Prem as fourth on the "Ten Most Inspiring True Stories Everyone Must Read" list. Easton is also a speaker regarding parenting through trauma and suicide awareness. To discover more about Mountain Moxie Publishing Services, please go to http://www.moxiegirlwriting.com. For a list of all of Easton's books, articles and interviews, go to http://www.amberleaeaston.com

2 comments:

  1. You always have such great writing tips. Thank you. :)

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  2. Easy thing to forget! Great advice. :)

    ReplyDelete