Sunday, July 10, 2011
Where Are the Fireworks?
I’m not a drama queen. I’m one of those people who like for their life to be nice and calm and relaxed. I don’t always have a life like that. I would just prefer that it were. I think most people feel this way. It can work in real life but a nice, calm life makes for really poor reading.
Ever read a book where nothing happens? What’s the point? This is one of my challenges. I can write a story but I’m never sure if I have enough drama. Sometimes it falls just a little flat.
I’ve read that, if you have this issue, when you are writing a story you should try to make feelings, personalities, and tension feel over the top. You should try to take it to the nth degree. You want to try to create fireworks on the page.
Donald Maass says, in the Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook, “Tension on every page is the secret of great storytelling.” One of the exercises in the workbook suggests going through all of the pages of you novel at random and raising the tension on each page.
I write a lot of short stories but I think the same exercise can be applied to a short story. Ratcheting up the tension until it explodes into an extraordinary shower of fireworks sounds appealing and it’s exactly what I need to find a way to do.
How do you create tension and fireworks in your writing?
If you are not a writer what books to you think have great literary fireworks?
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Thank for reading!