In This Episode:
“If the reader is trying to figure out where they are in time and space, they aren't thinking about the story! Give them cues and clues.” - Alison Hammer (@ThisHammer), an attendee at the Women’s Fiction Writers Association conference, quoting Jennie Nash on Twitter!
One of the things you're doing when you're writing fiction is moving people through time and space. Save your readers confusion, don't make them wonder where your characters are standing in a scene, how time is passing, or how they move from one place to another. Be mindful and conscious of it, OVER-explain it if you have to (you can always tweak it later if it feels too obvious), even if it feels ridiculous at the time. Often when we're writing we don't put down everything exactly the way we're seeing it in our head and a LOT can get lost in translation. Abby has questions around this via a chapter transition in her book, and we learn that sometimes we really DO have to fill in the gaps for our readers so they don't have to make mental leaps that take them out of the story.
We also talk about Mel's flat chapter 9. Mel's dreaded rabbit scene comes back with a vengeance and she and Jennie figure out a way to make it work. Mel's been using the killing of the rabbits as a stand in that her antagonist is a horrible person, etc., but she's not bringing it home yet. We don't feel it. This would be true with any demonstrably dramatic thing, which we tend to put a lot of weight into, but the writer and the characters always have to make meaning of it - it can't just stand alone. It's the characters' interpretation of the events in the story that we're really here for.
"This is the way it works - you lay [the first draft of something] it down like a track, a music track. How do we ramp it up, lock it down?" - Jennie Nash