So you’re standing there among your group of friends. Everyone is laughing and having a great time.
The evening is winding down, and one of your friends is really on a roll. He’s the character in the group, the one you can always count on for a laugh. He’s just relayed a hilarious story about his recent trip to a Giants game. You and your group are in stitches.
As everyone’s chuckles die down, there is a momentary lull. A split-second of silence. This is the moment when the alcohol in your beverage of choice becomes liquid bravery and you do something slightly out of character–something that, in hindsight, may become a joke of its’ own among your close-knit crew.
You tell a joke you heard from a friend at work.
It was so funny. You recall the beginning with perfect clarity. And you have everyone’s undivided attention. But half-way through, you realize that you’re not quite sure how the punchline went. But it’s okay, you can wing it…..
Anyone who has ever told a bad joke should recognize that the “funny” is all in the telling.
Same goes for writing.
When you–or me in this case–need to convey any type of emotion or drama in a storyline, you have to tell it just the right way.
I am trying to write a romance that turns into a nightmare. Don’t judge–it’s not as typical as it sounds. I’ll call it a thriller. And in this thriller, I have to give important plot clues in drip feed.
This type of problem has often haunted me. How much information do I give? When and where do I insert clues? How much is too much?
If you are anything like me, then any dribble or morsel of information feels like too much. When I give a description of something that is important to the ending, it feels like I am giving away the whole thing, like I am ruining the mystery/surprise. It feels like I dumped a giant blinking neon sign on the page.
“Look! Here’s the ending!!!”
But I have learned to remind myself that the reader does not know the things that I know–that this sprinkling of details holds the key to what I am withholding.
Don’t get me wrong… knowing this doesn’t make it any easier for me to tell my story.
But there is hope!
I have been working for months… months…almost a year…on my WIP. I know whats going to happen, I know my characters, and am still struggling for the perfect way to convey this information. To drip feed my twisted plot in a way that satisfies me and, hopefully, potential readers.
In this particular area, where the black letters meet the white page and all becomes gray, I have found something. Not surprisingly, a song. Music! Lyrics that encapsulate my stories theme–not so much the events– but the overall feeling.
What is it…about music that makes me think so clearly?
I don’t know how to describe the clarity I get when I listen to the song pasted below.
I’ve struggled for months and months for a way write a character in this one specific moment, for the proper way to tell my story so readers can look at it and know that I put everything I had into writing it.
And Papa Roach, a band that is good, but I have never really been that into, gave me a tool to help. Years ago. When they wrote, recorded, and released Scars.
It’s just so Avery (one of my characters in the WIP)!
So, I will keep writing and re-writing, and editing and whatever else I need to do to finish this book I am working on, to tell it in the right way. And I will do it while listening to this song….