Friday, 20 March 2009

Ouseburn and pacing

More bridges, this time where the Ouseburn runs into the Tyne, less than a mile and a half from the Tyne bridge, but tucked away out of sight. Although the pub looks as if it is sitting on the bridge, I assure you is not. The strange ovoid shaped piece of white metal is part of the barrage they are busy putting into place to keep the water level constant upstream. At low tide the banks of the burn are an unsightly mess of mud. Once the barrage is in place, it will look much better.
Before I forget - I have an excerpt on Unusual Historicals today - or maybe yesterday now! Do have a look. It's a bit from Dark Pool, my story set in Viking Dublin.

The weather has been so good this week that I've been out gardening every day, but now it is time to get back to work. I've been having doubts about the opening chpaters of KT so whilst gardening I've been simmering about what to do. I've had the old notebooks out, checking the words of masters like McKee, Bransford and Maas on things like pacing and conflict. I've pickedup some lovely quotes along the way. "Pacing is the rhythm of a novel." Well, yes, but it doesn't tell you how to achieve good pacing, does it? "Pacing is the length of time between moments of conflict." That gives me a clue. "The rate the reader reads." "The speed at which the novel events occur and unfold." What speeds up pace? Dialogue. Now we're getting somewhere.

Bradbury says: "Start where things start to go wrong." So, I'm rethinking the opening pages. Much as I love them, there is no real hook there to grab the reader, no hint of plot. Of course, this book started out as a romance, pure and simple. Now it has morphed into something else. Since I'm a start-at-the-beginning-and-work-through-to-the-end sort of writer, then those first pages are the oldest bits of writing.

Bransford says "without conflict the book is DOA." His way of putting things is sharp and dead on the money, and I must now go back and look at my beginning.


Linda Banche said...

So, dialog speeds things up. I didn't know that. I also heard that short sentences speed things up. If you're writing an action scene, use short sentences.

My own observation is that better words make the sentence faster. Rather than writing "he ran" you write "he raced", "he sprinted", "he dashed". But this last part is just my idea and my be nonsense.

I love your photos.

Jen Black said...

Thanks! Yes, short sentences and action verbs are good, too. My better half just bought me a lovely mini camera that does everything the big one does but weighs only a fraction and slips easily into pocket/handbag. I took it out yesterday and found I'd taken movies instead of stills! Back to the instruction sheet! But there should be more variety of shots coming up on my blog now....Jen

Linda Banche said...

Well, now that you have movies, load them into Utube so we can see them.

Jen Black said...

Now there's a thought. If only I knew how I'd load them on here!

schultpe said...
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