Yes, I employed whilst in the title of this post. I reckon it’s the British part of me plopping down for tea and biscuits. The Scandinavian side has been getting all the attention of late, minus my french lessons, so it’s only fair I suppose. As an aside, suppose comes from french (supposer means to assume. Who woulda thought?).
This write-up is not getting write-down to it and I apologize. Not very centered of me. Speaking of centers, I write in a lot of mediums, (short stories, novelettes, comic books, comics, cartoons, editing comics and cartoons) and am still learning in the bouncing back and forth – the rigors of it all, oh me oh my. Tireless yet exhilarating work. It is that sense of composure, confidence and clarity in communicating that I lust after. The center of the thing, whatever that means.
It’s not always easy in the creative hurricane to maintain composure when composing. Sometimes it’s like hurling martini umbrellas at a concrete dart board amidst a cyclone. But when one sticks, it affords me a wondrous minute and 42 seconds of buoyancy. I’ve got this! Or so I think. And yes, in someways, I am getting it. Not always but more so than before. I’ll take them apples!
So here’s a few things regarding centeredness in composition that keep me hitting the mark more often.
- Character motivation
The character’s need to overcome something is the through-line (center) of the story. If you know you’re character, it shows in their needs and actions. You build the world, scenarios around that for dramatic affect. Everything (or most) should be centered around this. That’s what the reader wants, whether they know it or not.
- Writing from the middle
James Scott Bell has a marvelous book on this and it relates to the above:
Write Your Novel From The Middle: A New Approach for Plotters, Pantsers and Everyone in Between
Instead of plotting out linear, start from a crucial decision point in the middle of your story, made by your main character, and write forward and back from here. You have cut the writing stretches in half, kept your focus tighter and boy, do you learn a lot about your character and how well you know, or don’t know them, when composing this precious moment.
- Keep the center in saying just enough
Write what you need to and let things breathe in the reader’s imagination. Guide them to the water but let them sip it! Don’t spiral out of control with excess, blurring the center of the dialog, scene, story, character motivation.
I recently handed my wife my latest draft of a novelette, and I am asking her to use these items to help edit it.
I hope you find this useful, as I have. Let me know what you think!
P.S. Sounds like “Pee Yes!” (Darnit, I just cannot stay on track, can I?)