Friday, February 1, 2008

No Need to Rush!

Jodi will be six months old on Wednesday. That just seems unreal! She is growing and changing so quickly and is such a joy in our lives. It's so amazing to watch her develop and learn. Her latest accomplishment is sitting up on her own for short amounts of time, though someone still has to be there to catch her as she topples over. Each new milestone is bittersweet--so exciting but a little sad to know we'll never get these moments back.

A great piece of advice I always try to keep in mind is not to rush anything with her. Our world is so competitive, it seems, that even with babies so many parents compare and worry and try to "keep of with the Joneses." I don't want to be that kind of parent. Jodi is an individual whom God made to grow exactly as He intended. If she is developing at a healthy pace, that's all that matters. No need to rush!

I blogged about Heartsong word count a few weeks ago, how we have to be sticklers to the 45,000-50,000 range. Unfortunately, that can create problem with rushed endings. What I assume happens is that authors are speeding along, writing a great story but forgetting to pace their word count as they go. A quick check reveals they'll soon reach the max but still have a lot to tie up. Often there's not enough word count left, and the story finishes much too quickly (usually with a lot of telling, not showing) to be satisfying.

I've also seen another scenario where authors seem to think, "Oh, I've reached the minimum word count, why spend much more time and words on this? I've got other things to do! I'll just wrap this up right now." That usually doesn't make for a satisfying ending, either.

In the first case authors need to find areas to cut earlier in the story to make room for a better developed ending, and in the second case, authors simply must spend some more time and words.

So, please remember, there's no need to rush! Pace your plot wisely and make your story end in a way that leaves your readers wishing it didn't have to.


The Write Life said...

Showing vs. telling is something I've been called on this week by a crit partner. It's easy to fall into old habits sometimes, and I realize I need to stay on my toes in this area.

One of my writing books that I've been reading sums it up so clearly. Showing is like you're watching a movie without a narrator telling you every move. Such simple advice! Yet so important.

I'm working on it! And I really think the chapter by chapter outlines help with the pacing and rushed endings. If you keep track throughout, there's no reason to rush at the end.


Mary Connealy said...

JoAnne, Such a cutie.
To the readers of this blog, if you click on those pictures they enlarge. Go do it and get a real close-up. The top one is so funny and the bottom one so joyful, and both beautiful.

I know in my writing, if find myself lapsing into a 'telling' scene sometimes when I'm just not quite finding the right tone or voice or angle for the scene. I've learned to just give myself permission to do that, then go back later and use what's there as a sort of synopsis, then act the scene out with dialogue and movement.

Beth Goddard said...

Great reminder, JoAnne! I know you're enjoying every moment with your little one. I know mine are growing too fast!


Pam Hillman said...

Already clicked, Mary! And I was trying to figure out exactly what Jodi was thinking in that first picture! lol

Generally, I have the opposite problem. I have to beef UP the word count, not try to cut it down to fit. I'm just not naturally verbose, even though I can be on occasion.

Vickie said...

I love Jodi's long hair and beautiful blue eyes. What a cutie pie!

What's helped me not to rush the ending of a story is the chapter by chapter outline. I know exactly what goes in each chapter, and by knowing how many total chapters I'll have, I know about how long each chapter needs to be, so I can watch the word count as I go along.