Thursday, January 8, 2015

There is no starting or stopping, just doing...

I've just finished reading a book that had characters who constantly began something, or stopped another. I learned early on that that is a no-go. Characters should always do something, draw the reader into action.
I don't know if this specif author/agent/editor trio did not believe in this, but I focused - just for fun (like hunting for adverbs - another sport while reading nowadays) - what it did to me as a reader.
It created the tiniest pause.
It was like suddenly (necessary adverb) being flipped out of the characters mind and life, watching from a distance. Only for the blink of an eye, but it's done.
And I also discovered that (and I didn't believe that in the beginning as I insisted myself that my characters had to begin and stop doing things) if you begin or stop doing something it is instantly replaced by new action. New action, that draws in again and creates atmosphere.
She stopped running while the bustle around her charged on. (From the book)
and replace it with
She stood still, the waves of the bustle around her crushing past.
Better? Different!
I went over old scribblings and tried to replace a couple of began and stopped. The change in the scenes was tangible. Suddenly the characters moved from one thing to the next in a fluent motion.
I am sure I will come across a sentence where I will still insist that I need either, but I may try harder before I give in next time. It certainly is a nice exercise I recommend to try.
Wish someone would have suggested it to the author of my last past time