Thursday, January 19, 2012

Struggling With Narrative Pace

I plan to spend a good portion of my writing day revisiting the parts of my short story that I’ve already written in the hope of improving the narrative pace.  Given that I usually write novels and not short stories, I’ve always had trouble switching over to the kind of pace demanded by shorter pieces.

I’ve come up with a strategy for dealing with this.  Hopefully it will help.

Step 1: Write an outline detailing all of the major plot points of the piece.  This will give me an idea of whether I have realistic expectations regarding how much I can realistically fit into a short piece.   There’s also the bonus of being able to determine the best order of events right off the bat.

Step 2: Determine about how long I want the story to be.  Having a good estimate of page length or word count should help me as I write by keeping focused on moving the story along instead of getting bogged down by tangents.

Step 3: Decide the most crucial scenes that I want to devote the most time and attention to and write a rough draft of those first.  Once I know approximately how long those are going to be, that should tell me whether or not I have a chance of achieving the desired length with the rest of the scenes written and added in.  If I think it’s going to go too long, then I need to revisit the outline and decide what, if anything, I can cut.

That’s what I’ve got for now.  Hopefully it’ll be a good start.

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