Yes, that was a pun in the title, though a very simple and obvious one. Groans are appreciated.
Seriously, though, this week we need to talk about the importance of tenses and tense agreement, specifically through the lens of the style of your writing. Now, obviously, keeping your tenses straight when writing is critical. The tenses you use form what could be likened as time-stamps for the actions that are described in the book. When these time-stamps are misused, confusion reigns supreme!
We talk about pacing a lot here in the writer’s kitchen and for good reason. Proper pacing engages the reader and enhances the themes and plot of the story. It picks up the tempo when the drama rises and properly slows to allow the reader to breathe and focus on characterization. Much of what determines good versus bad pacing comes down to the actual content of the book. I know that sounds like an obvious statement, but bear with me!
So let’s kick this off right with some Bad Habit Writing and I think the best way to go is with some classic trope talk. In case you’ve forgotten or you never knew, tropes are common literary devices, similar to the idea of archetypes, that are commonalities through out genres, media types, and so on. As with archetypes, tropes aren’t good or bad; they are tools in the creator’s toolbox. How we use them determines their value.
Now that we have the basics out of the way, let’s talk about a classic one: Our X Is Like/Not Like Your X!
Today, we finish up (probably) a series of articles and podcasts in relation to my next book, The Songstress Murders, available for pre-order now! Our topic of the moment is exposition, various types of that, and how it relates to genre fiction and world-building!
Let’s say you are writing an action-adventure piece, or an action piece, or really any genre that has a heavy action emphasis (from military sci-fi to a martial arts slugfest). Obviously, you would want to set a fast pace for the plot to match the fast action. The pace should be a driving force, keeping events rolling forward at break-neck speed … or should it?
First, the movie is incredible, well, if you like action movies. This is, at its core, an action flick with all that entails, so if you’re not on-board for high-octane action, you won’t like it. That being said, there’s some surprising depth of story and world-building done here and that’s what I’m going to talk about today.
So demands for planing for Mobicon, work for editing clients, and other shenanigans, I regretfully inform you that I won’t have a Starving Review served up today.
However, I present as a substitute some extended thoughts on the ‘strong’ protagonist, male or female, and how to create and think about your creations, alongside examples culled from my own writing. An extension of this Wednesday’s Writing Is A Bad Habit, the audio log takes things deeper than before.
If you enjoy this, please let me know so I can plan to do more of these podcast-style articles in the future!