My B2B Marketing Book

  • The Witness
    The Witness
    by Nora Roberts
  • Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less
    Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less
    by Joe Pulizzi

Real Time and Gaping Holes

Real time. In fiction, you ask? Yep.

I hadn't actually thought about it in a concrete way until it became a source of discussion among a group of writers I was with. We were reviewing each other's scenes and the topic reared up. Mostly because of the breathless feeling we all got from reading a scene where the events happened so quickly that our minds didn't have time to assimilate them and stay in the story. Our disbelief wouldn't stay in suspension. Not a good thing.

But herein lies the quandry. If something takes two hours to do, you can't write down every second. So, it's picking the beats that build the scene. "Well, duh," you say.

The problem is not only choosing the correct action/reaction sequences for the beats, but in having them also be the ones that create the timing needed for the reader to stay with you. And I think I found one of the keys to it the other day when I was reading something. The writer wanted to get me through the scene and glossed over some of the action to get to the hook and end the scene. I kept going back and re-reading it and trying to figure out why I wasn't with her.

I think it's because it was actually thinly veiled telling. Showing and deep POV will almost make you evolve the scene in real time. Think about it. What does it take for your character to "get" whatever is going on and build to whatever emotional value change will affect her during the scene?

If you stay true to that, then you'll keep your scenes in real time. This lightbulb moment helped me revise a scene that I knew wasn't quite right, but I couldn't nail down what was wrong wtih it. Try it out and see if it works for you. Then let me know what you think.

Gaping Holes:

Gaping holes are a new discussion I'm having with some of my critique partners. The gaping hole being the big bad thing that happened sometime during the character's backstory that provides the motivation and, often, feeds the conflict for what the character must overcome to get to what she really really wants at the end of the story arc.

The gaping hole will provide the internal conflict thatdeepens the external conflict and provides more "stickiness" for the reader. It helps establish reader empathy for the character. Let's face it, nobody wants to read about perfect characters. We want to see them struggle. We love it when they fail and have to try again and learn and grow to get the prize of their goal.

What helps in romances is that we know they will get it. The fun is in discovering how.

So, how deep is your character's gaping hole?