Daily Archives: February 20, 2014

Three Things Thursday

#1 from Cheryl Van Eck

Lately I’ve been thinking about tension in novels, and how it can turn an “acceptable” story into an “unputdownable” story.
For example, Harry Potter #2.
It starts off with an “acceptable” scene. Harry is being forced by his cruel aunt and uncle to hide in his room, making no noise and pretending he doesn’t exist while they entertain a rich dinner guest downstairs.
Characterization? Check. Dialogue? Check. Moving the plot forward? Check.
It’s acceptable. Harry could have sat in his room, thought a bunch of info-dumps, and we’d have accepted it.
But then, a noisy magical creature appears in his room, determined to get Harry in trouble so that he won’t be able to return to wizarding school.
Tension? Check.
All of a sudden, we’re terrified for Harry.  Our hearts are pounding, we’re dying to turn the pages.
It’s unputdownable.
So now it’s time to look at your story.  Where is it merely acceptable? What could you add that would make it unputdownable? Two great ways to do this is to 1) Interrupt and 2) Add a new element or character. What would a fire do to the scene? A gunshot? Or even a naked body?
From Ann Dee:
Going to our romance book. You next prompt is:
Write about the families of each character. How did they grow up? What do they value? What are they scared of
From Carol:
A favorite quote– “Sometimes when I think how good my book can be, I can hardly breathe.” Truman Capote. I can so hear Phillip Seymour Hoffman saying that line. I’ll miss him. He’s been on my mind, for some reason. Well, I know why, but I won’t tell you. You’ll feel sick, like I do.
Anyway, my mom taught Truman Capote’s short story, A CHRISTMAS MEMORY, in high school. I took her class. There was a beautiful little film made of it. Years later, I found three of his stories in a collection (at a garage sale) and I read all three to Mom.
I want to feel that way about my books–to be able to hardly breathe when I think how good they can be.
I want my children to read to me, if my memory goes.
I want my books to make a difference, like people do.
Now go write your next bit of that romance.
The month is speeding by.
It’s almost time to get together for dinner and a reading.


Filed under CLW, three thing thursday, Uncategorized