Monday, June 20, 2005

New Blog Look/New Discussion Board

Happy Monday, BGs.

As you can see, the blog has a new look. A couple months ago my Web site was completely changed to reflect my new “Seatbelt Suspense” look. However, I hadn’t gotten around to changing the blog accordingly. This weekend, my wonderful assistant made that happen.

AND—drum roll, please. We now have our own discussion board. (Thanks again to my assistant.) Link to the board is on the left. Please make yourselves at home and chat there as you like. Anyone can start a new topic, and you can answer back and forth as long as you wish.

Don’t forget you also can still leave comments at the bottom of each post.

Also, thanks to an e-mail I received from a new blog reader over the weekend, I have included a link (over to your left) directly to an announcement on the discussion board that contains the key to our shortened italics titles (like “BGs”) so that newcomers can quickly catch up on our unique blogspeak. I’ll update the list as needed.

Due to all these changes over the weekend, I’m going to keep this post short today and let y’all go check out the new discussion board.

Tomorrow we will go back to our edit as promised. We’ll start talking about sentence rhythm and tight writing. Those of you who have Getting Into Character might want to refer to Secret #6 in the book—Restraint and Control. This chapter includes the techniques we’ll be discussing tomorrow.

For now, something to think about. Here’s the first paragraph from our AS:

In an instant, he spun her whole body around, and her shoulder pummeled into Spirit. The horse panicked and jumped away, ripping the reins out of her hand.

Consider each separate beat of action in these two sentences:

He spun her around
Shoulder pummeled horse
Horse panicked
Horse jumped away
Reins ripped from hand

How quickly does all this happen? Do the sentences in their present form have a rhythm that matches the fast beat of this action? Whadya think?

More tomorrow.


Ron Estrada said...

The two sentence take too long. Whenever "and" is included, it creates a break in the action. The period definately creates a break. I would re-write it as one sentence and remove the "and."

Wayne said...

I agree with Ron that the sentences are too long in relation to the action. I'm not sure I'm gifted enough to get that many beats reduced to a single sentence (yet.)

First, I'd lose "In an instant" and "whole body". Then I'd get rid of the first "and". I'm new to writing fiction, but in my thinking, saying Spirit panicked is telling, while saying the horse jumped away is showing. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

"He spun her around, pummeling her shoulder into Spirit. The horse jumped away, ripping the reins out of her hand."

In my rudimentary understanding of Action/Reaction, writing it this way gives us an action (the first sentence) and a reaction (The second sentence.) I think it also shortens it sufficiently to match the speed in which the action is taking place.

Now if I can only figure out how to shorten my comments. :)

Becky said...

I'm going to anticipate even shorter sentences. (See the climax of Dead of Night). My choice would be the following: "He spun her around. Her shoulder pummeled into Spirit. The horse jumped away, ripping the reins from her hand."

I know the last sentence could also be broken up, but I have two questions when writing such short, tight sentences in action scenes. 1) Can't the beginnings become repetitive? I find I'm starting a lot of sentences in my climax "He verb." Which leads to the second question. 2) Even in action, isn't it important to vary the length of the sentences enough to keep the rhythm from becoming monotonous?

Lynette Sowell said...

I think we pretty well agree for fast action we need fast rhythm. (Of course, we'll see tomorrow, won't we? :) )

Here's what I suggest:
He grabbed her arm and spun her like a top. Her shoulder dug into Spirit. Reins zipped through her fingers as the horse bolted.

verbly challenged (as opposed to verbally)

Randy said...

In the space of a gasp his claw-like hands dug into her flesh, spun her, and rammed her against the horse. As she stared into her attacker's eyes, breathless, the reins slipped through her fingers to the sound of a fading gallop.