Friday, October 7, 2011

Progress Report, 10-7-11, and Gleaning Good Stuff From Negative Comments

Project: Falcons Rising
Pages Revised: 0
Pages Cut: 2
New Scenes: 2 --- 9 pages of new stuff! This particular section has allowed me to apply what I've learned about Show vs. Tell
Bad Things that Happened: A bridge comes tumbling down
Good Things that Happened: Nobody was on it

When Daniel Pool of Larks Fiction Magazine reviewed my novella Mists of Blackfen Bog at the Examiner, one of the few criticism he had about it concerned the "Interlude" that I included near the end. It's a linking scene, summarizing the passage of time while including the important details, between the rising action and the conclusion. He called this a "hiccup." Now, I'm indifferent about the matter. I can't agree or disagree with his opinion, but I see his point. How does that relate to my novel Falcons Rising and the revisions it's suffering through? Don't tell, but I had an "Interlude" there as well, in which I summarized not the events of a few days, but the highlights taking place over a couple of years. The reader does not need to know every event that occurs during those couple of years, but some important things do happen. How to handle this information has proven a problem in the past couple of weeks.

My conclusion is to choose the major pieces of information and show them in full detail, while tossing in the tidbits of other important info, as my POV character learns of it, letters, hearsay, battle reports, etc. If "telling" must done (and it must b/c there's just too much info), then let it be done through the characters themselves, their words, their thoughts, rather than a very, very ... very ... distant omniscient narration. It's been tough trying to decide how to present the information in a more interesting way without belaboring the issue and drawing out the book to ridiculous lengths. But I think the reader will appreciate the results, if not the immense effort involved.

So, if nothing else, it's good to read the negative comments as well as the good, in the hopes that one's future endeavors benefit. Have you received a less than favorable comment that helped strengthen your writing later?


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