Saturday, May 14, 2011
Rise and Fall
Yep, I am back after a brief sabbatical of trying to get not 1 but 3 books into publication shape!
I have also been doing a lot of writing coaching and as always I have sensed a pattern common to newer writers and I felt like everyone (even authors 5-100 books in have to remind themselves of this) could use a little reminder of making sure your writing has rise and fall.
What do I mean by that?
Simple. Your writing should breathe...
There are times when you will take quick, short breaths. Other times you will sigh gently.
Through out the book, section, chapter, paragraph and even sentence your writing should have a sense of movement.
You need to be not only going somewhere with it, but going with purpose.
Another analogy would be the make sure your writing is shaded. Not everything should be black and white. Especially your character's motivations. There should be a million shades of gray in there.
I know, I know... easier said than done.
But not really. You can truly breath life into a paragraph just by making sure that your sentences are not all the same length (and therefore the thought process behind them). Make sure that either external or internal dialogue rises from the character and not just from you. Make sure your prose is written through the eyes of the SPECIFIC character that you are in their POV.
Normally by applying these simple criteria, you can really get your writing MOVING :-)
The bedroom's walls were a dull white whereas the carpet was a light beige. There were not many knicknacks on the dresser however the closet was full to near bursting. All manner of clothing, shoes, and sports equipment threatened to tumble out at any moment.
There is nothing really wrong with the above paragraph, except of course it is told in passive voice. However, beyond that it is monotonous and lacks any rise and fall.
Dull, dull, dull. The walls, the carpet, even the bedspread looked like they had been washed in the same dirty creek. Even weirder the dresser was so spare it felt Spartan yet the closet was like a level-5 Hoarding situation. Who the hell lived like this?
Can you feel the difference? The difference in sentence structure. The difference in SPECIFIC language and an internal POV evident.
How about you test your rise and fall. Go pick a random page. Point out at least 5 places where you demonstrate movement and draw the reader in.
Feel free to comment below with a sample and I will swing by and critique it if you like!