September 13, 2011

Timing is….

Everything.

The time certain things happen, the time elements of backstory are revealed, are very important in a manuscript. If you have a really emotional element in a character’s background, revealing it to the reader, or other characters is going to be an important event. And WHEN that revelation happens is going to be key to the success of the MS.

I’m really struggling with finding the appropriate timing in this MS for my hero’s past to come out. And I’ve certainly struggled with this before!

In The Highest Price to Pay, I started Blaise and Ella out as very secretive characters. Blaise his the misdeeds of his past, while Ella hid her scars from the world.

Ultimately, the problem with taking that route, was that by the time I revealed the truth of their pasts, more than half of the book was over, and it seemed like the reader hadn’t gotten to know either of them. And that lessened the impact. And that was Very Very Bad. (yes, with two veries)

So when I got my revisions *coughrewritecough* it became clear that what needed to happen was for me to go back to the beginning with both secrets out in the open. That way the conflicts, the issues that Blaise and Ella’s pasts created, could be fully explored rather than simply revealed.

Now, in The Petrov Proposal (Out now in the UK in M&B Loves, coming to the US in Feb 2012) Maddy and Aleksei also had deep, dark issues in their pasts (it’s a theme with me…) but those issues weren’t revealed as early on. The reason it worked in that MS, was that their issues had a lot to do with intimacy, and it the moment where they revealed the full extent of their pasts to each other required them to have been intimate with each other. (actually, Maddy’s explanation of her past takes place when they’re in bed together.)

In these MSs, the timing was different. That’s why hard and fast rules don’t really work, because things are so heavily dependent on the story you’re working on, and the characters in that story.

I’ve had books where the first love scene is fifty pages in, and I’ve had them where the first love scene is one hundred seventy pages in. It just depends on what’s right for the book.

So, right now, I’m trying to suss out what’s right for this book.

How are things going for you?


Comments

5 Responses | TrackBack URL | Comments Feed

  1. So glad you asked!
    I am writing a manuscript now and my H&h have *a lot* going on. I’m in the same boat, trying to decide if I should reveal this or that now or wait till later… or can I actually have them do *this* at the middle of the book and still keep the reader interested… or if I have too much going on and I should maybe give them less problems. It’s stressing me out. Every decision and its opponent sound equally plausible. >:(
    Then there’s that nagging voice *coughdoubtcrowcough* that reminds me this is a follow up book, and why write it if I’m not sure the first will see the light of day. *whimper*
    Tell me you understand my plight. đŸ˜‰

  2. I have finally (finally!) resolved a plot point that never seemed quite right with me. Now I just have to go back and see if I can write it…

  3. Oh very timely post on … timing! I struggled with my NV chapter, not sure how much to reveal so early on. It really is tricky, but as you’ve said what is right for one set of characters isn’t right for another set.

    Hope your newest is going well :-]

  4. Jessica, I do. I DO. Sometimes the only way to find out is to write it and see…My editor, Jenny, once said that with some books you have to write across (beginning to end) to get it all out. But then you’ll have to go back and write down into the book to really mine all the depth out of it that you can.

    Julia, I had that happen a lot with the last book. Kept having to go back and tweak positioning of things and scenes.

    Catherine, very true. It’s all a matter of what works for a specific MS, specific characters and conflicts. There’s never one size fits all! And thank you!

  5. Fab post, Miss Maisey! What I’d love to know (from the beginning of my MS thank you) is whether I need to keep a secret a secret or get it out in the open đŸ™‚

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