WHY RHYTHM AND PACE ARE JUST AS IMPORTANT AS CHARACTER. THE RISE AND FALL OF A NOVEL.

Haute Tension

Haute Tension (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tap, tipetty, tap, tippetty, tap, go my feet along to my favorite songs on the MP3 player. Easy as pie, my head hears the beat and my feet they automatically know what to do. Oh dear fates now I am singing along and I have a voice that the local foxes and tomcat would be proud of.

When it involves music, its instinctive, you hear the beat and something in you knows what to do, connects on that cellular level that we are all instinctively looking for when we write. Music moves us, and we don’t have to do a thing……

Writing is different, it takes a lot of shitty firsts just to get the language right and once we’ve completed that and it’s readable we then look to structure. How long is this bad boy? Do I really need 120,000 words to say this or could I use fifty grand instead?

Where do I show? Start as close to the end as possible you say okay, “The End”, doesn’t seem that effective, begging your pardon. Use a hook for every paragraph? Are you fecking kidding me?

Okay, now I am exhausted reading it, so that doesn’t work.

This is my nemesis now, the rise and fall. I am not writing a thriller. So having my characters fall from one calamity to the next every paragraph doesn’t quite suit, I want drama and tension to come through, but I don’t want to manufacture nasty stuff to happen just because everyone tells you that you must have your character in deep doo-doo all the time. I am not sure it’s right.

Tension,is what I am trying to create and then resolution and then further tension, my novel should rise and fall like the ocean, sweeping the reader along with it. Disaster, then climax then build again. I want it believable and musical. I want my readers emotions to travel with them on the journey and whilst some of this is achieved by likeability and hateability of the central characters. A lot of this will happen via the structure and flow.

My perfect reader will be on a journey with my characters towards realisation. Not all my characters make it. In fact many that start the journey will fall and their friends and family will be irrevocably altered by their loss. Some for good and some for ill.

It’s creating that wave-like structure that I am finding the most challenging (along with everything else.) I seem to either have too much happening or too little, it’s such a fine balance.

I’d welcome suggestions from others who’ve struggled with the topic of pacing?

Are there any great craft books, you know of that deal essentially with this topic rather than anything else?

IT.

The Story of Stuff

The Story of Stuff (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The words have stopped being heard, it’s just a wall of sound with past indiscretions and minor infractions building into slow steady bricks. She plays her part, each of them batting in turn. Insults bouncing off or being traded. There are no tears, they died along with the simple things, a long time ago. No more gentle words or kind smiles.

A thousand things irritate her, things that used to make her light up when she saw them. They never tell you that love can die. He knits his brows and three distinct creases appear in his forehead. It makes her angry and she digs her nails into her palms – arms straight, sweaty fists forming. The anger and the frustration has nowhere to go, her shoulders hunching and she hears the distant drumbeat of the blood rushing through her ears.

How can she look at someone who used to mean everything and see a slightly older stranger, at once consumed with avarice and self-pity. How did they get to this? Broken promises and once golden dreams, falling like confetti around her feet.

Then she says it. She’s not sure where it came from pouring into the air, treacherous yet true. He stops, his mouth hanging open, the wall has solidified into silence. He open and closes his mouth and it reminds her of the fish you see in tanks at aquariums.

“I’m sorry – what did you say?” He is trying to pretend he didn’t hear, the hope in his face is too much and the air feels heavy.

“You heard me.” she says softly.

It’s out now, the words, the secret thought that she was never going to say. She’s said it and she can’t and won’t – take it back.

You know how I love to mix it up. This came to me laying in bed last night. Hope you like it or even hate it. Opinions of any sort – welcome.

GOOD ADVICE FOR LEMMINGS

“I am glad that I paid so little attention to good advice; had I abided by it, I might have been saved from some of my most valuable mistakes.”

Edna St. Vincent Millay

“I owe my success to having listened respectfully to the very best advice, and then going away and doing the exact opposite.”

G.K Chesterton

As a wannabe writer, blogger and general dreamer; I thought I may need some advice on how to become self-published. How do I stop Amazon taking 70% as I am from the UK (,please don’t make me talk to you about tax; I’ll do anything). How do I format my work once it’s finished?

There are a thousand articles telling you to do things one way and then a thousand more telling you why it’s a bad idea.

Some will tell you that you need to blog and utilize social media. Others will tell you it’s possible to get someone else to do all this for you, and I’ll tell you that whatever you do the work has to be “good” in the first place or all the marketing plans in the world aren’t going to work.

Some will say you that you need a professional editor and graphic designer. Some will tell you it’s possible to do this stuff yourself. Some will tell you to take creative writing courses or go to writers groups. Others will tell you these are a waste of time and effort.

Some people will tell you that you have to give your work away for free until you prove yourself otherwise you will never sell anything, others will tell you that this devalues your work and makes you look amateurish.

And that’s just it. Does anyone know the right way to do any of these things? If you just want a nice little hobby –, then you don’t need a graphic designer, and you can most likely get beta readers to edit and in all likelihood can give it all away for free without a second thought.

If, however, like me, your dream is making money from writing. There, I said it MONEY – the dirty word when you talk about anything creative. I’m not expecting to be the next “Shades” author (funny, how everyone knows about the books but most can’t remember her name) so not millions and squillions. Just enough to get by, earn a living and pay the mortgage.

For this – you are going to have to charge a fair price for what you do. You cannot give it away for free. Now I’m not talking about an excerpt or a sample or an example chapter. I’m talking about those who tell you; it must be Free and/or you have to price at 99c (or 79p in the UK).  Because they had to, to get any sales.

Why do you have too? So that you’re in the mix with their work, at the same price and competing?

Authors have been successful at both price points in self publishing – at 99p and £3.99. I guess it depends on how hard you want to work. I’m passionate about pricing on books, and I believe if I devote six months to a year of writing; make sure it gets professionally edited, proofed and formatted, then I can charge a price that reflects this.

I am not saying all the advice is bad or useless, its not. Just be careful and pick what works for you. Good advice comes from your gut (you know that when you hear it, it will either make you angry or it will just seem right somehow) because some of the greatest authors ever, all have one thing in common. So take some advice made famous by Frank!

And now, the end is here
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain
I’ve lived a life that’s full
 I traveled each and ev’ry highway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way

Regrets, I’ve had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do and saw it through without exemption
I planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way

Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall and did it my way

I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried
I’ve had my fill, my share of losing
And now, as tears subside, I find it all so amusing
To think I did all that
And may I say, not in a shy way,
“Oh, no, oh, no, not me, I did it my way”

For what is a man, what has he got?
 If not himself, then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels and not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows and did it my way!

Yes, it was my way

Songwriters: JACQUES REVAUX, CLAUDE FRANCOIS, GILLES THIBAUT, PAUL ANKA

You my not agree with any of the above or you may think by god she’s got it! Let me know… Comments, as always, welcome.