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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Too Much Too Soon?

Had time on my hands today without Internet access for most of it, but I did some work on "Mongan Manor." There is an important piece of the puzzle to the family secret involving names of ancestors, and I had thought I would put that off until much later. As I started down a different path this morning to do a different sort of scene, it struck me that it had the potential for more drama and would fit better at a later point, closer to the Big Scene, as it were. So I switched gears and started dropping some hints about names.

As always, I'm concerned about pacing. Each chapter must reveal something and institute a permanent change, hopefully with increasing tension and surprise, until the final wrap-up. The problem is getting a feel for where on the upward curve I am at a given point. In an earlier post, when I was working on the third Jack Watson book, I realized that things were happening too fast. A series of events occurred in the space of a day and it just didn't seem to be reasonable. Granted, I'm writing fiction, but as Stephen King once wrote in his "Danse Macabre," fiction requires a suspension of disbelief. Disbelief is a heavy load, like lifting a grand piano with a hoist to a third floor apartment. If you do it right, the reader gets swept up in the story and will believe just about anything, but if it flies in the face of reason to flagrantly, it's game over. Using my Jack Watson story as an example, I could imagine the reader thinking: "The killer found a phone number, called someone from out of town, got hooked up with a contract shooter, and then a snitch mentioned to Jack that someone was gunning for him ALL IN ONE DAY?????" Since I write in fits and starts, from day to day, the gaps make it hard to notice this, but when I went back to verify what day of the week I was currently writing (yeah, I do that a lot), I realized how much had happened in the space of a day and it just seemed impossible, even for fiction.

The other challenge with the Windsong Lake characters is that they're intelligent people. Paul's a genius and Stefanie recognizes patterns and never forgets anything. If a clue is too obvious and they both miss it or misread it, that grand piano is a pile of splinters.

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