R.J. Anderson (rj_anderson) wrote,
R.J. Anderson

  • Mood:

What were we supposed to care about, again?

What I have learned in the last couple of days:

Obscurity is not a virtue.

What I mean by that is that it's perfectly okay (and sometimes even good) to keep the reader guessing about (some of) your characters' motives, their allegiances, their true feelings and so on -- but it is not a good idea to leave them guessing about the plot.

As I'm revising the opening chapters of Knife, I'm realizing that in an effort to avoid the Dreaded Info-Dump, I actually ended up failing to make clear a bunch of things that the reader really needs to know. I'm realizing that it's okay to state those things outright instead of trying to come at them obliquely, and that in making them plain I'm actually helping the reader to engage with the story and understand what's really at stake.

My revision of Chapter One has gone all right, I think. But man, as I'm working my way through the printed manuscript with a highlighter in one hand (to mark the really important bits of information that I have to be sure to include no matter what) and a red pen in the other (to strike out unnecessary scenes and correct other faults), I'm realizing that the book still needs a lot of work to be both tight and coherent.

*grits teeth and picks up pen again*
Tags: knife, revision, writing
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