Friday, October 25, 2013

Who's on First? Power in Characters and Power in Locations--How Good Pairings Raise Tension in Your Novel or Memoir

A writing rule I wish I knew when I started out:  to create tension in your scenes, two or more elements of power must be combined.  "Power" in literature means the ability to evoke change in the status quo.  If you play it safe, you'll keep this from happening with your characters or locations.   

Your writing will lack tension to drive forward, to become a page-turner, to irrevocably engage a reader's interest.

The writing rule about power is an antidote to the unconscious desire to play it safe--which many writers struggle with.  This rule reminds you to make sure each scene has at least two power elements.  Three is even better.  You want that itchy friction that keeps a reader wondering what's going to happen.