Page 107

98

Write!

much is happening and we get bored. Sometimes, however, too much of the same thing is happening, and even though it may be full of action, we still get bored. I had that reaction at certain points in Peter Jackson’s version of King Kong. There was sound and fury on the screen, but my reaction was, “Please, please, no more fighting dinosaurs!” The solution is something I call the Q/A strategy, with Q/A standing for question/answer. The concept behind it is that when we are reading a book or watching a film, what keeps us moving through it is a series of questions in our mind to which we want the answers. We have a huge capacity for curiosity that kicks in easily, so that when we read even a simple first line, like “It was a sound she’d never heard before,” we want to know what the sound is, even though we have no idea who “she” is. The key to effective story telling is getting the pacing of questions and answers right. If by page 5 we still don’t know what the sound is, we’ll probably lose interest. On the other hand, if the second sentence tells us what the sound is, our curiosity hasn’t been engaged long enough for the process to be interesting. If Q stands for a question that is raised, and A for the matching answer, so Q1 is the first question, A1 is the answer to Q1, and so forth, the pattern that works looks like this: Let’s say the first thing we encounter is a crying infant in a crib. The first question might be, “Why is this child crying?” (Q1) As the child continues to cry we wonder, “Where is the mother?” (Q2) We see the baby holding up her hands, wanting to be taken out of the crib. Now we know why she’s crying. (A1) A man steps into the room. We wonder who he is. (Q3) He says, “It’s worse than yesterday.” We wonder what is worse. (Q4) The mother steps up behind the man. Now we know where she is. (A2)

Your Writing Coach  

Part One: Ready, Steady 1: No More Fear, No More Excuses How to overcome what’s been stopping you 2: Find Your Niche How to find out what yo...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you