Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Editor Moment . . . Flesh out your scenes

I am in an online critique group and absolutely love the members of this group. In our crit group lately we have been talking about fleshing out scenes. It's something we all need to do from time to time with few exceptions.

I was pondering a little about fantasy writers and how different fantasy is from things like sci-fi. We were talking about how fantasy by nature is longer than other genres. And how sometimes because of pressure to stay under that "expected word count" the fantasy author strips the scene they are writing to the bare bones in order to "fit" that count. Or that the world/story is worthy of nine books and for fear of not selling the entire series they try to cram 3 books into one by again striping the scenes of the details and richness fantasy especially deserves.

Think about it, fantasy is the one genre where you have the pleasure of building worlds and magics and governments etc, etc, etc, with abandon. What's the point of doing all that world building if you can't use it in your book? Whats the point in introdoucing your reader to this world you've worked so hard on, if you fly past it on your way through the story.

My advise to any writer whatever genre is to write the best story you can. Granted there are rules you must follow. But if you write a wonderful rich book with scenes with a little meat on them you have a much better story and a better chance of getting published EVEN if the story has many more sequels. Don't short-change yourself, your characters, or your readers by writing less of what needs to be told.

Write the book that needs to be written. If it's too long, split it in half. If you have a lifetime of stories to tell, decide what parts of the story need to be told and expound on those and let the rest go. I promise the reader wont miss what you MC had for breakfast every morning or what kind of underwear he wears or if he wears any at all.

While publishing guidelines are there for a reason, there should be no stopping the writer from creating something rich, fleshy, and wonderful. I guess what I am trying to say is, write the story you want to write, the story your reader deserves from you.


Shari said...

Very nice post. I REALLY liked it. I have to agree with you, too. What's not to love about rich, goopy chocolate fudge, I mean fleshy stories.

L.T. Elliot said...

Thanks for this post. It's true that so much is different in fantasy. *sigh* I need to find more people like me.

Jewel Allen said...

I know the kind of writing I want to achieve, the fleshed-out, meaty stuff, but getting there is such a challenge!

I know it's a good scene when I kind of get into the zone. I just wish I could do it consistently and overcome ms fatigue :-)

Unknown said...

I love this post. I am always afraid that I am getting to into the story or to detailed because I want my readers to see what Im seeing. But your right a good story should have some meat on its bones.

C. Michelle Jefferies said...

I think the trick is finding where that line is between fleshing out and skinning the scene. What matters to the reader, and what doesn't. When the author starts giving me too much back story I start to dislike the story. But if I am not getting enough information I also dislike the story.