Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pick up the pace!

(And no, I'm not talking picante sauce. I swear, I'll never get that darned commercial out of my head.)

Ways to make your novel drag #1 - Really drive home the point by repeating yourself. This includes repeating characters.

I wanted Ms. MC to have some emotional issues in her past to explain her actions in a current relationship. She couldn't be betrayed once. Not twice. Three times sounded so much more tragic. I created three men. All cut from the same general bad guy mold. All betrayed her, though in different ways. You can just feel the word count swelling, can't you?

Yes, well, in most cases, swelling indicates something is wrong. And it was. The pacing wasn't pacing or even walking, it was crawling.

To fix this, I took the best - or worst, in this case - of all three men and lumped them into one. He got to stay and become Mr. Tragic Past. The others, well, that's where Marin and Nekar come in. Which rather explains why they are both bearing grudges and aiming guns... at each other? I didn't see that coming.

Nekar fires a bullet into Marin's armored coat, knocking him back but not down. Nekar turns to me. "Just because I'm helping you, don't think I forgive you for editing out my shape shifting abilities."

"Sorry about that. I really liked the shape shifting. Nothing personal, it was a matter of necessity to cut word count."

He gives me a conciliatory nod and then scales my chair, all the while searching for a better shot at Marin.

Marin ducks behind my box of pens and takes a shot at Nekar. He misses.

“I read what you did to those boys,” Nekar says. “A horrible death. Heartless. You deserve to be cut from the novel.”

“They were young men, not boys. Besides, she made me do it.” He points his gun at me.

An unfamiliar male voice calls out, “Over here.”

I look down to see two grinning, young men. Ah yes, more characters happy to not have to die horrible deaths. They’ve cleared a path to the door.

“Thanks, but I’d rather stay and see how this plays out.”

They look at me like I’m crazy and run.

More gunfire. My pen box tips over, spilling pens across my desk and onto the carpet. Marin is gone. Nekar jumps over the rolling pens and dashes to the backside of the desktop.

On my tiptoes, I maintain my distance as I peer over my desk. “Where did he go?”

“Back there.” He points downward.

I cringe, thinking of the masses of rabid dust bunnies and cable mazes awaiting Marin. “We won’t be hearing from him for a while. If ever.”

Nekar gives the black void one last long look before climbing off the desk and down the chair. He retrieves his crate of adverbs and walks back to his corner. “We can only hope. But just in case, I’ll be waiting.” He pulls an adverb out and holds it up. Vigilantly.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! I especially liked it because I know the story. I think I remember Nekar, poor guy. *sigh* Interesting stuff!

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