Episode 81: Give the Reader MORE

In this episode

In episode 81, we talk about Mel’s logic problems in her submitted pages. Logic problems on a first draft are common, and easier to catch when you have someone else reading through your pages who can say, “Wait….what?” A lot of logic problems can be solved by simply putting more on the page – MORE thoughts, MORE feelings, MORE internal goings-on in your character’s mind and motivations. Once again, it’s the WHY that gets us.

Jennie uses the example of Tom Cruise movies—everything is very clear, very well-explained, very black and white. We’re never left in the dark, we know the stakes, and that’s why it’s so suspenseful. We have to know why, or we’re not going to care. Generically “bad things” aren’t enough. Big drama isn’t powerful unless there’s big meaning behind it as well. Give the reader MORE MEANING.

Jennie also brings up the big issue of Mel dancing around the sexual tension in her scenes – dancing around it isn’t working! She totally admits to chickening out, which is a common problem of the chronically awkward among us. Jennie assures her this is totally fixable, however – Mel needs to get the emotion and meaning on the page. She also admits that growing up in a very conservative culture has probably stunted her ability to express any sort of sexuality in her writing. Writing is about being vulnerable, however – the author has to be vulnerable in their work, and vulnerability in your characters helps us relate to them as we watch them change and grow.Give the reader MORE EMOTION.

“You can’t be a writer and write well without confronting the scariest things in your own self. People think it’s hard because you have to sit down and put words on the page – it’s hard, because if you do it well you’re going to have to go to the places you don’t want to go.” - Jennie Nash

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