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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Ongoing Projects


The Wolf of Britannia (working title)Celtic Warrior


After a three week struggle, I finished the re-write of chapter 52. Because the chapter became so long, nineteen pages, I divided into two chapters, 52 and 53. They describe the Battle of Caersws in what is now modern Wales. This was Caratacus's last battle against the Romans after waging guerrilla warfare for nearly eight years. I wrote it from viewpoints of Caratacus and the Roman, Porcius. I attempted to portray this battle as realistic as possible and that accounts for the increase in words and pages. My attempt was to "show" and not "tell" the story. I ran it passed my mentor and fellow author, Patricia DeMars Peiffer, and surprisingly she found only minor mistakes in the writing. This pleased me. I knew what she would look for and I did not want to have to do another major rewrite. She always wants me to paint a scene and setting--I made a point of doing just that. On to the next chapter. Caratacus is betrayed by his cousin, Cartimandua, Queen of the Brigantian tribe, a Celtic Kingdom in Northern Britannia. I am getting close to the end of this story.


The Broken Lance Roman Cavalryman


This last Saturday, Jan. 26, I read chapter 32 to the Spokane Novelist Group from The Broken Lance. This is a down chapter in which we take a breather from the fast paced action of the last few, which involved a hair-raising torture scene and the discovery of a list of conspirators, who planned to assassinate the Emperor Claudius, in an urn within the mausoleum of the Gallus Family.


In this chapter, we learn of Marcellus's growing love for the British Princess and hostage, Eleyne. There was some debate by the group about the way I covered the chapter. I opened up with a narrative summary which I considered a transition. One member disagreed and said it should be a full blown scene. I disagreed in that it would not add anything significant to scenes I created in the chapter and would unnecessarily lengthen the novel, etc. There were some other points brought up on which I could agree. This has been a tough group and they keep you honest. However, at the same time, you cannot give into the personal preferences/prejudices of others. A writer must keep his/her own style intact and follow his/her true self, otherwise, creativity can be stiffled if not ruined.


Below, I am including an opinion from my book doctor, Erin Brown, who is a former editor with Harper-Collins about this situation of when to "tell" or narrative usage.


Thoughts on Writing - Narrative vs. Telling


The following is from an email I received from book doctor/editor Erin Brown.

"Showing allows the reader to experience the story through a character's actions, words, thoughts, senses, and feelings rather than through the narrator's exposition, summarization, and description (telling).


"A few words about narrative: 'Show, don't tell' should not be applied to all incidents in the story. According to James Scott Bell, 'Sometimes a writer tells as a shortcut, to move quickly to the meaty part of the story or scene. Showing is essentially about making scenes vivid. If you try to do it (show) constantly, the parts that are supposed to stand out won't, and your readers will get exhausted.' Showing requires more words; telling may cover a greater span of time more concisely. A novel that contains only showing would be incredibly long; therefore, a narrative can contain some legitimate telling.


"Scenes that are important to the story should be dramatized with showing, but sometimes what happens between scenes can be told so the story can make progress. According to Orson Scott Card and others, 'showing' is so terribly time consuming that it is to be used only for dramatic scenes. The objective is to find the right balance of telling versus showing, action versus summarization. Factors like rhythm, pace, and tone come into play."


--Erin Brown, Editor.

9:32 am pst          Comments

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