Slowing down, but in a good way

21 July 2011

Normally when I write a book it comes out sounding (or reading) similar to a movie or an episodic television show. I like to cut back and forth between story lines because it feels right. When I write I’m usually watching the movie in my head, so it seems only natural that my books should feel quick filmic and be fast-paced.

But I wonder if it’s going to be that way with Heather. I feel, as I’m writing this first proper full draft, that the frenetic pace isn’t as natural as it should be. Thing is, I can’t tell if that means it’s a problem with the story itself, or if it’s more about the way the story is best told.

I like to give my characters a sidekick or foil because dialogue is my favourite thing to write, and it’s what I love reading. I’m not a fan of long passages of description just for its own sake. Anyhow, Heather has a sidekick/stalker, Grant, but since he’s stalking her, they can’t really talk. They’re texting now. But that feels weak. Which is odd in and of itself. We text all the time now, so why shouldn’t the characters in a piece of fiction? I suspect that texting, like ‘uh’ ‘well’ ‘umm’ and those ticks we have when actually speaking, works differently in fiction. I don’t let my characters waffle on (too much) or repeat themselves endlessly, or pepper their conversations with too many uh, erm, well, huh, I means. I think texting falls into the category of ‘Just because we actually say it/do it like that, doesn’t mean it’s right in fiction’.

It feels like the pace of this novel is different. And I’m going to explore that. I don’t know how it’ll come off… but it’s fiction. There’s room for experimentation.