Friday, February 1, 2013

Why Studying Other Authors Helps You Practice Your Book-Building Skills

This week I am finishing yet another round of edits on my revision of Breathing Room, my next novel.  My wonderful editor, a flight expert, and a screenwriter friend have given me their feedback, and I have a pile of notes to think about, incorporate, and make changes from.

The solution to manuscript problems isn't always easy to see.  That's why I turn to other authors.

For instance, my screenwriter--who has a wonderful eye for the cinematic--recommended I boost the character visuals:  She couldn't always see the characters in each scene.  We writers internalize our characters easily, so we sometimes forget that readers outside our heads can't do this. 

Clues are needed--a quirk, a way of moving, a physical characteristic.  Not too much, but enough to be able to set the person onstage in front of us.

This is especially important, my friend said, in the opening pages.

I agree--but I also hate when the opening scene is loaded with too much description.  It slows things way down.