Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Novel Getting Bogged Down?

Well, if it is you're not the only one and you can consider yourself in good company.  It happens to the best of writers; it pretty much happens at times to all writers. If you find, upon rereading the beginning of your novel that you've gotten yourself and your reader trapped in a morass of introductory background information it's time to look for a way out.

One such way is to pick a pivotal action scene and start your novel in the middle of that scene.  If you begin the novel that way you'll introuduce your  main character when that character is already in the middle of some conflict that will grab the reader and get him or her involved.

Consider what you've aready written.  You could choose to use the first exciting event (this doesn't necessarily  mean a shoot-out or car chase) in your novel.  You might also think about beginning with the final crescendo of a scene that ends the novel, then use most of the book to circle back to the beginning and spin the tale. 

The thing to rememer is once you've kick-started your novel there will be plenty of time later to plant any background information that gives texture and life to the tale along with keeping your readers' interest.

Now, remember, an “action scene”, as I  mentioned above, doesn't have to mean literally “action” as in things careening out of control, things blowing up, people with guns or meteors from space, though those things can be valid if that's the sort of novel you're writing. 

For others though, “action scene” means a scene that moves things forward briskly.  One that grabs the attention such as, “Just out of the shower Jamie walked bare-foot across the thick carpet and glanced out the window of his 25th floor apartment just in time to see the window washer's platform swing past, and it was empty.” Or maybe, “There I was in the kitchen, my mouth full of peanut butter when the door slammed open and I couldn't even scream.”

Your story is your story, but consider your writing – how can you give it a start that will reach out and grip your reader by the throat and not let that reader go? How can you take that 'informational' beginning and give it some bite?  Remember, if you lose interest, so will your reader.

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