Daily Archives: August 24, 2012

Reading Circles – Plot & Structure {Part 3}

Happy Friday everyone! Did you come across anything interesting in the chapter on strong beginnings this week? I really liked the part where Bell talked about not needing much exposition right up front; that readers will follow a character doing something even if they don’t know anything about who that character is. It’s such salient advice because I know I always feel compelled to give a lot of backstory up front.

But I’ve observed this advice in action and I learned how powerful it is to not give too much right away. I learned this while reading Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go. What compelled me to keep reading the book from the start was the sense that the characters’ world was familiar but there was something very wrong with it and I was dying to know what was going on. It wasn’t the plot that compelled me; it was this mystery provoked by the juxtaposition of familiar and foreboding, both comforting and strange. I used that lesson to guide my own writing: to leave a question unanswered as part of what compels the reader to keep going.

What stood out to you? What would you do differently, now having read this chapter?

All right, next week let’s read Chapter 5: Middles, or: how to get from here to there. We often have great beginnings…and then peter out. This read prevents the peters!

Have a great weekend, everyone and we’ll see you next week!