Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Lazy Writing (Adept)

Map & compass
I don’t know about you, but initially when I’m writing my mind is full of the main points of the story, which I want to get down as quickly as possible. When I wrote Adept, I just had the basic outline, with none of the finer details worked out. Because I wrote it for NaNoWriMo, I just jumped straight in. Quite often, I didn’t stop to work out what happened in between the main events, or how the characters got from one incident to another.
The story of Adept begins with three crewmen from the Kestrel locked in a cell after a spying mission went wrong. I had this part worked out quite well: they meet another prisoner who has been tortured, and Parks [Nathaniel Parks, Kestrel’s First Officer] is taken away for interrogation. After Parks comes back in quite a state, they plan to jump the guards next time they come in. They also decide to take the other prisoner with them. The plan works.

Then the novel said, ‘Together they made it to the exit without any problem, and the door opened at a touch of the badge against the panel.’

That’s because I hadn’t worked out how they were actually going to escape! Now, that kind of writing is really unacceptable. There are times in a novel when you don’t want to detail every minute, because nothing significant happens. Saying, ‘two hours later they arrived,’ is fine. But here we are in the middle of an exciting escape, and the reader will want to know what happens.

So, I had to work on it. I added deeper description and characterisation too. I’m doing this throughout the novel, but the biggest job is putting in the lazy bits I left out!

You really need the details, readers won’t accept lazy writing. If you need to research the details, or if you just have to take time to make them up, you must do it. Don’t forget to write them down somewhere too so they are consistent throughout the book.



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