Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Writing a Page-Turner, Part II

Yesterday's blog discussed eliminating exposition (AKA minutia) from your writing to help quicken the pace of the story. Today we're going to talk about the distractions -- those words and extra, unnecessary thoughts that bog down the story-telling process. The reason I am focused on these details is because I am doing the final revision on my novel Body in the Trunk so I am paying extra attention to these things myself. What do some people consider distractions?

Let's put a simple one in context with dialog. You can have too many "he said's, she' said's" and all those extra said's or ask's or whatnot can distract the reader from the actual flow. So here is the tip: if you've set up a scene clearly with two speakers you need only occasionally identify the speaker to keep it clear. You do not need to identify the speaker every sentence. In the scene set up, identify your speakers and then sparsely add the identifiers. Also, another tip: keep your descriptors to a minimum, too. Avoid using too many adjectives and adverds.

If you have three speakers or more you will need to track this better and add the identifiers. In those scenes without the identifiers the audience can get lost and not know who is doing the speaking.

Let me give you an example of two speakers from my book Body in the Trunk (note: you have no problem figuring out who is speaking and there are only a few identifiers).

Phil nodded and got up along with Leron. They both said thank you and walked out toward the beautiful Olympic-sized swimming pool. Once they got out of ear’s distance, they talked as they walked.
“Dude, she’s like a hot piece of work, huh,” said Leron. “One of those stuck-up wealthy bitches. And did you check out those fake tits? Man!”
“Is that all you got from that conversation?”
“No, dude. She’s a dangerous hot bitch.”
“Yeah, no remorse at all. She fucked Evan and screwed the Dad yet she sits there all smug and self-righteous like the boys have no reason to be upset with her arrogant ass.”
“What do you think, dude?”
“We need to find out who else had a vested interest in that subsidiary, and I have a feeling the trail probably leads back to Mia and … Evan.”
“What’s next?”
“We need to get some information on that partnership with Mia.”
“You think she had something to do with Swedish Designs II?”
“Possibility, but let’s go back to the headquarters and human resources. Maybe they know her name somehow.”
“Cool, but you know dude how about some of that clam chowder or something seafood like. I mean shit, we’re at the beach.”
“Sex and food – is that all you ever think about?”
“Pretty much,” chuckled Leron. “Damn! I would have fucked her, too. She’s a bitch, but shit did you check out those legs? Fuck!” 
Phil looked at Leron, rolled his eyes, and chuckled. He thought to himself at least Leron was consistent. 

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