Lessons from My Reading

M. K. Theodoratus, Fantasy Writer, blogs about the books she reads--mostly fantasy and mystery authors whose books catch her eye and keep her interest. Nothing so formal as a book review, just chats about what she liked. Theodoratus also mutters about her own writing progress or ... lack of it.

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Friday, September 9, 2011

Middles: When Do You Write Too Much?

Now that I'm not trying to social network all over the place, I'm getting more web-reading done. One of my first rewards was discovering Amy Rose Davis' blog, Fantasy Faction. Thanks to a Twitter link, I visited her comments about "Cramped Middles". No, not about eating too much. About making your plot complications meaningful. Davis asks whether your complications contribute or do you just throw a bunch of action against the wall and stop when you get to your word limit.

I tend to concentrate on my opening, primarily because I always back into them. I've sometimes added four chapters onto the beginning of a novel draft before I discover an action-filled, inciting incident to complicate my main character's life. Davis reminded me that middles are important too. Middles of novels not only have to be un-boring, but have to remain pertinent to the MC's problems. 

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Then, there's the question of why even bother with the beginning or middle or ending of a book. Like why do you write? For the glory of it? Excuse me while I snort.

Harlan Coben did a blog about "Want to be a Great Writer? Follow These Three Steps". The tone of the blog may be tongue-in-cheek, but he gives any writer a lot to think about, if they ever hope to publish a bunch of books like he has. His most important point, I think, is what would you do if you didn't write. I know I would have a lot less fun each day if I didn't visit Word each day.

Why do you write? Do you even know why? 

Progress Report:
Should say I'm still reading The Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin -- off and on. Have about 200 pages of the into the read and don't know if I'll even reach the middle of the book. Martin's opening chapters are a series of vignettes about various characters and situations. He displays his mastery of craft by pulling you from one disconnected scene to another until about 100 pages in you realize he's giving you insights into his cast of characters rather than one character's dilemma.

Having said that, I still don't know if I'm going to finish the book. Another book just pulled me away from the Martin tome. Worse, the book's about shifters rather than political intrigue. Does that I'm sick of politics and the election season hasn't even begun? [To be honest, the shifter book does have some pointed situations about crass authority figures.]

I wonder how many other writer's find Martin's craft skills uncomfortable. For me, I look at my "one-character-plots" out of the corner of my eye ... and wonder why I should even bother with marketing. After all, I write to amuse myself.

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