Encore Episode: Author Intrusion and Time Looping

Welcome back to another encore episode (while we are on a short break between seasons!).

This week I’m bringing back the episode all about time looping, for no other reason than it was an incredibly helpful lesson. I still find myself doing it all the time, but thankfully now I catch it as I’m putting the words on the page and stop myself before it happens. I found myself doing it just today, as a matter of fact. Knowing is half the battle, right? So I was able to go back and work in the details I needed, so my story didn’t loop back in time.

Here are some more Mom Writes updates that I would be remiss for not mentioning:

  1. Season Two will be all about REVISION! Jennie is going to kick off Season Two with a webinar about her Stoplight Method of revising. April 12th at 4pm ET! Sign up for that here: https://www.authoraccelerator.com/momwriteskickoff

  2. Our Mom Writes/#AmWriting retreat in Maine is now open! Come and hang with me, Abby Mathews, as well as Jennie Nash and KJ Dell’Antonia. I’m crossing my fingers that Melanie can find a babysitter and come, too! (Please send her all the good mojo you can muster!) I’m also crossing my fingers that YOU can find a sitter or a willing grandparent or a dad with plenty of vacation time to spare, and YOU can come, too! More details and to register, click here: https://www.authoraccelerator.com/amwritingretreat

In this episode:

Author intrusion and time looping… and middle school kissing!

“Newsflash. As your life goes, your writing goes.” -Jennie Nash

Abby had a hell of a few weeks, putting her house on the market. She basically sucked all the fun out of her family in preparation to sell their home, and she wouldn’t even let anyone sit on their bed. The house must not look lived in! The result was not only a major dose of #adulting in real life but also #adultvoice in her middle grades novel.

Some of it was easy to fix. As Jennie points out, often times you just go in and erase those bits of author intrusion. (Because that’s exactly what happened in this case. Abby the Mom stepped in for Abby the Writer.) But it also created a big logic hole, which Jennie, Abby, and Mel pick apart. For the story to work, the characters needed to LIE TO A MOM. And Abby was like, “NOPE. Can’t encourage lying.” How do you write a realistic conversation about lying between two 13-year old characters while not necessarily endorsing the act itself? Jennie advises her to get creative about the lie while still acknowledging it. Sometimes acknowledging it is enough - readers know they shouldn't lie to their parents, but they also know what's going to happen in the story if they don't.

“Have the vultures be circling!” –Jennie Nash

Time looping. It’s a super common problem. You’re in story present, and you loop back just a couple minutes or a couple beats back in time to explain something. Then you move forward again.

“It’s almost always, always, always something you are telling the reader that you should be showing the reader.” -Jennie Nash

It's fine to inject the information, but it needs to be in the context of story present. Time looping is something really easy to do, and really easy to miss. Regardless of how you choose to solve it, it has to make sense in the context of the story.

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