Learning for many, begins with copying various tricks we’ve seen our favorites in the field pull. Somewhere in the middle we select a handful of choice skills copied from a number of role models and meld them together; viola, our style begins to take shape. Over time we evolve as those clumped together bits blend and suggest to us new permutations of old concepts and an individual’s true style shines through.
That being said, I’m somewhere in the middle I think, and hope to arrive at the latter part early enough to rest on my laurels someday. But seriously, here’s something I’m pretty sure I picked up from other works of fiction. It’s my way of trying to build a ‘page turner’.
Jimmy shuddered as he stared into his own grave.
That’s how I might begin a chapter; especially if last time we saw Jimmy he was happy as a clam. How the hell did that happen? He’s in world of trouble, how’s he getting out of that? And then, like a movie scene that begins with a close up, I pull back, expand the scene and fill in the blanks.
“Tell me why I shouldn’t dump you in there, you lousy rat,” Tom growled. “You never thought I’d ever catch up with you; but you thought wrong.”
Piece by piece the puzzle comes together. Often, because I chose to enter a scene at the height of some new tension, I follow the first paragraph with a brief summary, a few details to link ‘happy as a clam’ Jimmy to ‘my goose is cooked…’ Jimmy.
Tom had caught him unawares at the bar, and at the insistence of his good friends Smith and Wesson, Jimmy drove them to a secluded corner of the state park.
So somewhere along the way this mini-crisis gets resolved. What happens next is either a cliff hanger for Jimmy or as in the example below; I lead in to a point of view change.
Jimmy breathed a sigh of relief until it hit him; where would Tom’s wrath turn to next?
Of course as the pacing of the story rises and falls, these two factors wax and wane. It’s not a perfect formula, but then again, I’ve got some more melding and blending to do.