Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Get in Late, Get Out Early

Some of the best writing advice--"Get in(to the scene) late, get out (of the scene) early"--is offered by David Mamet, an American author, essayist, playwright, screenwriter and film director in his book, On Directing Film.

One mistake new writers often make is to start scenes at the beginning, which Maria von Trapp said is a "very good place to start," but only if you're learning to sing; it's not such a good idea if you're trying to write compelling fiction.

New writers often try to justify their reason for starting slow, but you've only got five pages--if that--to convince an editor to keep reading your manuscript. You've got to grab the reader by the lapels and make sure s/he cares about your character and needs to find out what happens next in your plot.

Pay close attention the next time you watch a movie or television show. They don't waste lot of time opening and closing doors. To write riveting fiction:

1. Start your scene in the middle of the action.
2. End the scene with a hook. (I prefer a bit of punchy dialogue, when possible.)

Many published authors have had to omit the prologue to their stories when prologues fell out of favor. An editor told other author that her story really began in chapter three, so she had to delete the first two chapters of her novel. Editors urge writers to look at their first chapter critically. Is it necessary? Does the story start with a quick hook or more of a slow build up? Try omitting the first chapter to decide if it makes the story stronger. Carefully consider where your story really starts.

No comments: