Tuesday, January 16, 2007

And then what happened?

I got some great work done on Book 2 yesterday, and added some more today at lunch when I wasn't hampered by eating. {s} I'll try to work on it a bit more later and get it at least to 7,000 by the end of the day.

Yesterday I realized a trick that I pull on myself to keep my motivation going, and thought it might be useful for someone else.

When I stop for the day--which is usually because of time constraints with me, but sometimes just because I've done enough--I try to stop in medias res. Right in the thick of the scene, often even at a cliffhanger. I don't wrap things up neatly at the end of my workday, with a resolution or with the character going to sleep.

Why? Well, I hadn't even realized I did this until yesterday, but when I thought about it for half a minute it was clear. When you're reading a good book, what keeps you going? What keeps you turning the pages after you meant to go to bed, or keeps your thoughts flying back to the book-world during the day? Tension, and uncertainty. So I do the same thing when I'm constructing a story. To keep myself thinking about it and intrigued enough to tackle it the next day, I end with a hook for myself.

Yesterday's hook for the end of the day was:

I stopped when I saw the gypsies, but not in time.

So today I had a fascinating place to start, and I was eager to get back to it and find out what the heck was up with the gypsies. I wonder if this also helps to make sure there is continued tension in the book--if I'm constantly trying to interest myself, maybe it helps to keep readers there too.

Tricks we play with ourselves.

Medieval Word of the Day: Hock-day: The second Tuesday after Easter Sunday; Hock Tuesday: in former times an important term-day, on which rents were paid, and the like, Hock-day and Michaelmas dividing the rural year into its summer and winter halves. It was also, from the 14th c., and probably earlier, a popular festival, signalized by the collection of money for parish purposes by roughly humorous methods.

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