Setting up a community isn’t easy; getting that many people on the page or screen and keeping them all individualized while combining them into a unit normally takes some time, a slow build so that the reader or viewer can get to know each member as the team gradually bonds. Some series–Person of Interest and Arrow, for example–do this over many episodes, adding one member at a time. And then there’s Leverage, a show that dropped five loners into the first episode, fused them into a unit, and never stopped running. The pilot for the series is a great tutorial on how to create a team very quickly while individualizing all its members. Continue reading
I’ve been e-mailing with Pam Regis, Argh’s Academic in Residence, about the romance contract, the agreement that romance writers make with their readers. From Pam’s first e-mail:
The unspoken contract in romance fiction is that the parties to the courtship will end up together. They’ll overcome whatever barriers there are to that ending-up-together and commit to each other. For most of the genre’s history, the outward sign of that commitment was marriage–no longer a requirement, although still quite common.
“I’m writing a story I really, really loved when I wrote the first draft. But now I’ve let so many people influence how I write it that it isn’t mine anymore. All the shine has gone off it. (This has actually happened to two books, but one I know how to fix.) I want the original back. The story I was excited about, the one that entertained me, but I’m whenever I think of looking at it again I get
this yuck feeling in my stomach and I end up playing scrabble instead.
Do you have a method for reclaiming a story that you might have over edited or changed in ways that killed it for you?”
I’d love to know how you evaluate your story once you reach the end of your first draft – how do you decide what to keep and what to change?
Short answer: Keep whatever’s working and tells your story, cut or revise whatever’s not working, cut anything that gets in the way of your story even if it’s working. Continue reading