Friday, August 04, 2006

...And The Three Bears

About 70 pages to go till I finish Leftovers and I feel like I’ve lost my voice. Where is the fiery pacing that marked the first third of the book? Where are the pithy bon mots that used to roll off my fingertips and into Rose’s internal monologue? Did she and I (we) just get tired of the whole thing???

Then it occurred to me: maybe she’s behaving the way one would expect, given the way the story unfolds. (Hm? Maybe? Or, am I rationalizing?)

See, now I get the difference between plot-driven books and character-driven ones. In my first two books, the scenes stack up like dominoes. Remove one and the rest fall. (Um, this is a good sign, right?) Which is why I’ve never understood how authors can move scenes around, let alone delete them entirely. My first two were very linear—the map from A to B is a straight line and the character growth stemmed from the action created by the plot.

But with Leftovers, there IS no external suspense plot. I mean, there’s a story question all right. But a visual depiction of how we get to the answer would look more like one of those “where we fly” airline maps. No direct routes, in other words.

And, in this instance, the plot equals the character growth. (Okay, I’m scaring myself now—maybe that’s not enough??)

Anyway, my point is that sh*t happens to Rose in the book, so why wouldn’t she act less peppy later on? The trick is hanging on to the essence of the character. Not sure I’ve done that. Only time (and revisions) will tell, I guess.

I’ll say one thing for sure. Writing a book where the relationships are key is a whole lot harder than when you’re trying to get from Point A to Point B.

For my next project, I think I’ll skew towards a better balance between the two. Like, not too much, not too little…just enough of both.

Kinda like Goldilocks and the whole porridge thing.

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