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This Is What My Stories Have Been Missing (1 Viewer)

TheMightyAz

Mentor
Again, I'm posting this because in posting my observation, it might spark something in another writer who's making a similar mistake. I've added this only as a reminder for myself going forward and in the rewrites. It's by no means the end product so there's no need to critique it. There is little point in having a limited POV if you don't allow yourself into their head now and then. So far I've been relying on actions and reactions to show what they feel, but what about what they think and how they think?

With incredible tenderness, she reached down and cupped one diner’s face, titled it to meet her gaze, its heavy lids barely concealing the heaven in its head, tongue-tip flicking thin air. [Added content: She witnessed her power in that angelic face and it pleased her greatly. Even though the loyalty on display wasn’t entirely of their own making, these creatures, as lowly as they appeared, had forsaken a simple life in favour of depravity and succour. There was nobility in that. To know ones place and to seek it out without regard for the possible outcome.] She let it lick her thumb for a while and then, with the same care she’d taken it up, lowered it back down to continue its ministrations, her freed hand now tracing a nail around the gooseflesh of her breast.
 
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TMarie

Senior Member
Great observation and I agree. As a reader, it helps to get to know and understand the character and their behaviour better. What you've introduced adds fullness to the story, but like you said, "now and then". Too much and it would be, well, too much.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
Great observation and I agree. As a reader, it helps to get to know and understand the character and their behaviour better. What you've introduced adds fullness to the story, but like you said, "now and then". Too much and it would be, well, too much.
Yeah, I've taken a break from writing the story at the moment in order to dig deeper into what else I need to add. I've tinkered here and there but little else. I'd already identified the problem with world building and now I've identified this. I'm listening closely to audiobooks to see if I can identify other elements. Once I'm satisfied I've got most of what I'm lacking memorised, I'll practice in the rewrites to hone the skill. I need it to be automatically part of my style and not something I have to stop and think about.
 

TMarie

Senior Member
Is there a thread where you shared the problem you identified with world building? If not, care to share?
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor

TheMightyAz

Mentor
Is there a thread where you shared the problem you identified with world building? If not, care to share?
I never specifically discussed the problem in the same way I have here but this thread sprang from understanding the problem:

 

bdcharles

Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9
Staff member
Media Manager
Good call. I recall reading that that a good way to do this and manufacture tension is to have the POV char ask themselves lots of questions, which I have now of course completely overdone ;)

"He advanced down the track. On either side, sheep grazed on heather and it did not escape his notice that their fleeces were very like his mother's hair. Or was it? Were they? And what was the farmer's stance on this? The questions ate at him with honey-badger ferocity. What was this new obsession with sheep all about? It was, he knew, suddenly his life's mission to find out. Anyway, a light rain began to fall."
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
Good call. I recall reading that that a good way to do this and manufacture tension is to have the POV char ask themselves lots of questions, which I have now of course completely overdone ;)

"He advanced down the track. On either side, sheep grazed on heather and it did not escape his notice that their fleeces were very like his mother's hair. Or was it? Were they? And what was the farmer's stance on this? The questions ate at him with honey-badger ferocity. What was this new obsession with sheep all about? It was, he knew, suddenly his life's mission to find out. Anyway, a light rain began to fall."
Yep. I said a long time ago that whilst my writing has gotten much better, some of my older writing felt deeper and broader. This is why. Once again that cut, cut, cut mentality lead to me thinking 'bare bones'. I'd cut that content because I thought I could 'show' it in the actions and expressions of the characters, and then forgot what it was I'd cut!

Oh, God, another rewrite, more practice ... I love it actually :)
 

vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
Yep, there are LOTS of tools in the box, and that's one reason I read several books in a genre before I dive into writing one there. All of these tools have been used before, and it helps to learn who, where, what, how, and why.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
Yep, there are LOTS of tools in the box, and that's one reason I read several books in a genre before I dive into writing one there. All of these tools have been used before, and it helps to learn who, where, what, how, and why.
At the moment, I feel as if my scenes move too quickly. What I think I'm doing is overcompensating with the descriptions in order to slow the pacing down. Not that I'd want to remove those long descriptions, just that they need separating more, giving them time to settle before I hit another one. World building, character history and inner thoughts like this are exactly what I need to broaden that gap between the descriptions and actions. That and adding simpler sentences in now and then ... which I find difficult to do to be honest. It just doesn't feel right to me even though I know it is.
 

vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
At the moment, I feel as if my scenes move too quickly. What I think I'm doing is overcompensating with the descriptions in order to slow the pacing down. Not that I'd want to remove those long descriptions, just that they need separating more, giving them time to settle before I hit another one. World building, character history and inner thoughts like this are exactly what I need to broaden that gap between the descriptions and actions. That and adding simpler sentences in now and then ... which I find difficult to do to be honest. It just doesn't feel right to me even though I know it is.
Pacing goes back to that old "Filler" discussion. It begins with deciding how many words you want to write. For the LM contest, at 650 words, not much room for languid pacing (though there IS some). LOL When I start out a 100K word novel, and I'm budgeting 20 chapters at 5K each, I only have to know what I'm going to do that chapter. There are going to be a lot of blanks to fill in 5000 words, and that filling better be as much fun to read as the main action.

You only have to be clever with the verbiage from time to time, but you need to be clever with ideas more frequently. In fact, I probably prop each up with the other. A clever idea doesn't need clever wording to put itself across. In fact, simple wording probably works best to make sure the clever idea is clear to the reader. On the flip side, for a rather plain but necessary section of dialogue or action, I'm more prone to look for clever verbiage to spice up what would otherwise be "meh" content.

An example would be a scene where your character is bored. A beta reader told me a character should never be bored, which is one reason I don't use beta readers. He had no idea what he was talking about. The CHARACTER can be bored, but that doesn't mean the reader should be. You can be clever in a scene where the character is bored, and having an inactive character both gives you pacing, and a place to reveal character and set up for future story. Because the bored character is not in a stupor. He's watching something happen, he's thinking about it, and he may be doing things which are routine to him, but which you can make interesting to the reader.
 
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