This is mostly inspired by EXTRA, but it’s an interesting thing I’ve come to notice, so why not talk about it?
I have a style that tends to revolve around details. Not an exorbitant amount of details, but a lot of emphasis on particular ones. The narrator in my writing is as much a character as the actual characters. They’re not telling the story, so much as observing it, often discovering things alongside the actual participants in the story. But that doesn’t actually impact my writing’s pace much, on its own. Because those details tend to be a lot more external, and the narration on the witty side. Usually my pace is more based on the story, itself. I might not be explaining it quite well enough. If you’ve read my writing and can come up with a better way to describe it, by all means, let me know. Anyway, trying to write for EXTRA is a bit difficult because I’m still trying to figure out the kind of pace I want it to have. It’s a drama, probably first and foremost. It’s capable of other things, of course. Humor, joy, triumph, all that good stuff. But in its bones, it’s a drama. A very human drama. Even more so than Burning Sky which is, at its core, an adventure story with elements of drama. When I write more dramatic scenes and stories, I tend to let the narrator go to work on things that are a lot more internal, as well. It’s a very contemplative style. A slow one. Which is weird. Because I’m going for shorter chapters than I normally would.
On average, I tend to write chapters that hover somewhere around 15 – 25 pages. With EXTRA, I’m trying to keep things more in a 10 – 15 page range. That means trying not to lean so much on that more contemplative style and just getting to “the point” faster. Which is, itself, very weird. Because I sorta feel like the story’s subject matter warrants that slower approach and observation of seemingly minute details. But… which ones? It makes pacing out the chapters a really strange experience. A unique contradiction where I need to make things both sort of punchy, but also drawn out enough to let them sink in. Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 didn’t suffer this that much because one was almost entirely setup and the other was pretty much one looong scene where I was free to take that time in between the other stuff going on. But I’m really feeling it as I begin Chapter 3, and I can see this being a struggle, going forward. I intend to figure it out, of course, but it’s tricky. Deciding which details to focus on and when to focus on them with this style and these length restrictions has just been a tough process.
I did talk about it with a team for a bit today. But not a great deal. The strategy is obviously to use the style sparingly. That much I already figured. The issue is mostly figuring out where it should be used. For now I’ll just save it for scenes and moments within scenes that I think warrant taking a little more time. Then I can “gun it” for other scenes where things need to move a little more quickly. This whole story is a bit of a new experience, for me, in many ways. Burning Sky (for now) takes its time, after all. With just about everything. It’s so big, it can afford it. This… is not that. But I’ll get the hang of it. And, hopefully, this becomes a story where my trying a new approach helps me get better at my craft. Never stop learning, after all.
All right, that’s all. Writers and Readers, what kind of pace do you prefer? Something a bit slower or something a bit faster? Or maybe a joining of the two, like I’m expecting this to be? Let me know and thanks for joining me on this magical mystery tour through my head. Keep an eye out. I think I’m gonna be revealing another character in the story sometime soon. In the meantime, it’s the usual spiel you all know by now.
Stay safe, Stay healthy, Stay Awesome,