Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Like a good wine, some things take time

I finally made it to the latest edition of the Romantic Times magazine with the American Title Contest and the first lines... It got me thinking about the opening chapters.

We are told by editors and agents to get the story moving really quickly. We don't want to wait until chapter 13 before things finally start getting good in the story. With that said though, I have seen that too often writers are rushing the story far too much. The end result is a story that tends to become unbelievable.

Remember that when you are creating relationships in your story, it takes time for the characters to get to know each other. Now, I understand you have some word count requirements, but this simply means that you have to be careful where and when you use those words. Great character developments don't have the characters immediately jumping into bed or thinking they are in love by the end of chapter 1.

Take your time to get the characters knowing each other a bit more. Take your time to fully envelope your readers in the conflict and the setting of the story. Don't over work it but don't rush it.

But what about the comment of getting the story moving sooner. I always say to start the story with movement, not action, but movement. Think about what it would be like to walk into your house at 9:37 am on a Saturday during the summer. What is going on? Certainly not the crisis of the family but movement. The house is alive with people getting on with their day, the dishwasher is running, people are putting on make up. Get it?

So, your homework over the next couple of days, Think about your story. Think about that movement, and please, give your characters a chance to get to know one another.


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