It’s about ten million degrees here tonight. I’m not quite sure how the world has managed to do it, but it seems that it’s hotter at night than it was during the day. It might be that I scuttled from shadow to shadow when the sun was up, but I was outside a fair amount today, and was never quite this hot. Anywho, the post may cut short if I start to die from heatness.
What I wanted to talk about today was something that I noticed a few times while reading through Dreamstate II. It’s easy to keep someone’s attention during an action sequence. People are running around and there are swords and magical doodads and what have you—it’s exciting by default. There are other parts of the story that are just as, if not more important than those action scenes, but they also happen to be a lot slower. These scenes build up characters and plot and all the manner of other important things that the book needs to not fall flat. What I find, though, is that if I’m not careful with them, they can be a bit boring.
An issue that I had with a few parts of the book (especially before I went through and did all the editing) was that some of those slower scenes didn’t really introduce anything new. If nothing new is happening, and the writing is slow, that’s when a reader’s attention starts to go. There were some parts where even I was starting to say ‘bleh,’ and it was my book. I’ve fixed most of those bits, as far as I can tell (I’m sure there will be a few more once other people get their hands on it). It was one of those strange moments of epiphany for me when I realized why some parts felt more boring than others when the style was essentially the same; the importance of new. This got me thinking a bit more about a book I’ve read recently—Arthur C. Clarke’s Rendezvous with Rama. There is almost zero action throughout the course of the book, but it’s incredibly exciting. A whole world unfolds, and something new is introduced every few pages—there’s never a dull moment even though the pace of the story is pretty slow. I want to try and capture that feeling in my books; that when the battles are over, people still want to keep reading.