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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Ongoing Learning

Finished a pivotal scene in "Seer, Tyro, Fiend" and wrote another one out of sequence. It was so on my mind I couldn't sleep, so I figured I should write it down and get it out of my head.

Once again, I find myself second-guessing the structure of "Seer" because it does not fit into established forms for fiction. With so much time between writing short passages, I start to lose the feel of the pacing, but I guess that will resolve itself when I can devote more time to it. My publisher, Arline Chase, often answers questions about structure and pacing on her blog, among many other topics, and I make it a point to read what she has to say. As a publisher, author, and former writing teacher, I can't imagine a more profound expert to tap in polishing my skills as a writer.

But back to pacing. One of the points she has emphasized is that a scene or chapter should reach the point where something changes forever and then end there. I know I break this rule far too often, and I always vow to mind it in the future. Of course, now that I've put it down in this post, I've committed myself to following advice which I have declared so valuable! I think most of the time, I tend to look at the length of a chapter more than what has happened in it as a guide to where to break it. Then again, as I edit my first draft, things change, move around, get deleted, so even those early efforts to break things up really doesn't matter. I have seen big-name authors push this rule to the max, making chapters out of scenes which are less than a page in length. The hard stop of a chapter, with the heading and all that, is like watching a movie and having the film break repeatedly. It's too much of an interruption. A customary break of white space or some
asterisks would suffice and not be so intrusive.

So I keep learning from whomever I can about this craft, and I keep hoping that even as I learn, people will like what I write and keep reading it.

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