Wednesday, May 06, 2015

What Late Night Episodes of 'The Flash' taught me about Perambulatory Writing

I am currently finishing the 6th ( and maybe kinda final) draft of A Singularly Whimsical Problem.   This is the first novella preceding The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder  and will introduce all of you to Jem and Merinda.  Hopefully you will like them.

While this book is released before my first full-length novel, its action is set in a logical space during the course of the novel’s timeline.     As such, I don’t give you a lot of background information.

I don’t preamble. I just drop you into the world.

Hopefully, from the action and dialogue you will be able to establish

  • -        Character dynamics
  • -        Toronto’s social and cultural world
  • -        The tone of the books
  • -         Its personality

If I was the Flash I woulda finished this novella already

The end stretch of this novella has been very difficult for me and I have been over-caffeinated, underslept and manically trying to balance its writing with my daytime career ( which is, ironically, also busy).

Late at night if I wake up buzzing ( a common side effect of creative anxiety), I have been watching episodes of The Flash out of chronological order.

My first episode of The Flash was a very recent one and I could tell that a lot of plot functions had taken place and a few major twists about the big baddy had recently been revealed.  But, as in any good writing,  I was immediately sucked into the story without the backdrop or preamble because:
  •   I had an immediate affinity with the hero (he's the sweetest thing since Merlin)

  •  With minimal dialogue I was able to establish what the character dynamic was, who had rapport and who didn’t
  •       I was given a 360 degree view of the world of the fictional Central City it was set in
  •     I was given an immediate introduction to the tone of the show and its fun, zanily manic atmosphere 

I didn’t need to watch The Flash from the pilot to learn the origin story, how these people met and how Barry got his powers.  I didn’t need the preamble.  It was enough that I got the logistics of it, got the feel for it and, eventally, decided that this would make a repeat appearance in my crazy, anxiety-ridden 3 am wake-ups.

You’re not meeting Jem and Merinda from the time they meet.  This is not a Study in Scarlet.  But that’s okay. Many Sherlockians begin with Silver Blaze or, most famously, the Hound of the Baskervilles.

Watson gives you a bit of a line “It was the Fall of 1895 and I had just happened to stop in on my old friend Sherlock having missed the cheery Baker Street fires and…” yada yada yada.

Authors sometimes drop you into the cocoon of a world and if the writing is up to snuff you will catch on, latch on and fall in love anyways. 

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Yes! As a reader, my favorite is being dropped right into the middle of the action. And as a writer, too...I like assuming readers are smart enough to catch on to what's happening, giving them little breadcrumbs of backstory as you go...

Can't wait to meet Jem and Merinda!