Three Dirty Birds chirping about the second part of James Scott Bell’s Revision Checklist. Today we’re talking about Endings, Scenes, Exposition, Voice, Style, and Point of View.
Kate: Phew! That’s a lot!
Ana: ~takes a nap in preparation~
Zoe: And so we begin with the end. Tying up loose threads, creating resonance, and manipulating readers into feeling what you want them to feel. Maybe “manipulating” is too strong a word. 🙂
Ana: Sometimes it feels like that though, doesn’t it?
Kate: I think that’s part of the job, though, isn’t it? You’re choosing words and plot events to evoke specific emotional responses on the part of the reader. To create that sense of resonance, like the story has come full circle. I’m setting that up in the WIP right now. (Well, one of the four stories I’m playing in, anyway.)
Ana: I think I’ll spend the next few days writing several versions of my last page. It has to be just right!
Kate: I’m looking at twist endings, though I’m not sure that the twist I’m considering will be appreciated by the readers.
Zoe: I’m nervous about the ending on the current WIP because at the moment, I feel like I need two epilogues. Who does that? *sigh*
Ana: Lol. It could be revolutionary!
Kate: Redshirts has three. I think you’re safe.
Zoe: Oh good!
Kate: His sections on Scenes made me cringe, if only because it looks like so much work. And we all know how little cats like work…
Zoe: Yes, the part about determining which your ten weakest scenes are, throwing the weakest out, and then going through the remaining nine scenes twice…and then do the rest of your scenes too! I needed a nap.
Ana: Ah yeah, I immediately thought… oh well maybe I’ll do a couple problematic scenes. I’ll probably end up doing one. (Maybe more if I’m like really impressed with the result)
Kate: Yeah. I mean, I have two novel-length works that need some attention–they’re just sitting around waiting for my revision-brain to come back online. The thought of combing through them and rating each scene…*sniffs sadly*
Zoe: I was happy to have permission to stretch the tension. I could stretch tension all day long. I will be looking into the cores of my scenes, and how I can heat them up a bit more.
Kate: I get the sense that he really likes Koontz.
Zoe: I haven’t read Koontz in years, but I remember reading The Voice of the Night (published at the time under his Brian Coffey pen name), and being absolutely riveted. Koontz can do tension.
Ana: Heh. I tried him once, didn’t like it, and haven’t picked up a book by him since.
Zoe: Yeah, I haven’t been able to get into him for a while. But during that one perfect point in my life, I got some white knuckles reading his stuff. (Oh, and the one where he absolutely made me fall in love with/feel complete sympathy for the bad creature.)
Ana: I don’t even remember which book I tried… I left it in Japan.
Kate: If I’ve read any, I don’t remember it. I probably have, though–I’ll try anything once.
Zoe: So, exposition. I was just rereading the section. He says, “Now, put the chunks [of exposition] you have left in dialogue or character thoughts. Even better, put the chunks in confrontational dialogue or make them highly tense thoughts,” and I thought, “I should do that.” And so I thought about the info I needed to convey in the WIP. And then I went, “Oh, I did that. Never mind!”
Ana: He’s mentioned it before. And so did Story Trumps Structure.
Zoe: Yeah, but I didn’t have this WIP, written to the point it’s at, then. Geez. 😉
Kate: I thought his key questions for that were really good.
Ana: I’ll keep those in mind for my next wip. So far I haven’t written stories that required a lot of exposition, so I can’t remember struggling with it. It could also be that I’m too lazy a writer to write infodumps. I tend to under-explain rather than over-explain. My editor just asked me if I’m sure we can assume all readers will know how earthquakes and tsunamis are interrelated…
Kate: If they’ve been through junior high, I would think they’d have some idea. I’ll have info-dumpy sections, but generally they get cleaned up because they’re more like note-taking for me. If I miss any, my beta readers will catch them and make me feel bad. 😛
Zoe: In Voice, Style, and Point of View, Bell asks if your POV is consistent in every scene, if you slip into describing something the POV character can’t see or feel. I won’t say I don’t slip POV in the current WIP, but I will say if the POV character seems to know too much, there’s a reason and hopefully I can set it up well enough at the end so it makes sense. (And hopefully readers will stick with it that long. I don’t really get obnoxious with it. It’s very tiny things. Rule-breaking though; it makes me panic.)
Ana: ~flicks Zoe off her perch to make her calm down~
Kate: The best books break rules, but they do it smart. *dusts Zoe off*
Zoe: Mostly this section should have been called Point of View. There isn’t much style-wise.
Ana: It was rather thin.
Kate; I thought the bit about getting into the character’s attitude by exploring his emotional response to something was pretty nifty, though. I might try doing that a little more consciously. Boy, there’s so much to keep in mind when you’re writing!
Ana: Good thing you can do multiple editing passes. So is anyone going to write an essay about their theme?
Kate: I’ll leave that as an exercise for the reader…