Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easter Equals Days Off but Not Time Off From Writing

Evening of the Thursday before Good Friday, I suddenly decided I would take a break from ScriptFrenzy. I was ahead in the page count, and I figured I could take a couple days off. By the end of Good Friday, I'd decided I was going to take off the entire weekend, just like government types do. Not to the end of Easter Sunday but to the end of Easter Monday.

It was heavenly.

I baked and read.

I did a few chores Monday morning to clean up the mess from baking and baking for the big Easter feast. And then I picked up my Sony Reader and read in the sun. The eInk screen of the Sony Reader really shines in sunlight (not literally shines, metaphorically of course!). eInk becomes clearer in the sun, the contrast between type and "paper" is at its best. The newest Reader allows for many font sizes, but the size set by the ebook publisher was easy to read for me in the sunlight, and I didn't have to bump it up. Not until the light levels went down. But instead of increasing the font size, I simply brought it closer to my eyes and kept on reading. I couldn't put it down, you see, for I was reading a new-to-me author: Lee Child. He writes compelling prose.

I began to think about how he grabs the reader and holds onto them, and in that way keeps the suspense beating the reader's heart. As soon as you take a break and think about the mystery part, about what the protagonist Jack Reacher will do, the suspense drops. Child's technique seems to be to ensure the reader doesn't stop reading.

I thought about how I could use that technique in my own writing, although people have told me that they didn't see the ending of my first novel She at all. Didn't anticipate it or imagine it. Cool. Of course, as the author I knew how my book would end, and I hadn't seen how much the ending was hidden from the reader until they told me, until the reader was reading it, tumbling through the dramatic event, hanging on to the end with both hands.

I thought about my other novels, the ones in revising and editing stages, and the ones forming in my mind; I thought about whether they needed suspense and if I'd written them using a similar technique to Child's. I wondered about that technique, how it's done.

And so this weekend may've been four days off from ScriptFrenzy and actual banging of fingers on keys, but it wasn't really time off from writing. I need another day or two off!

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