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Last Week’s WW: ESD: Extra-Sensory Descrption

Here is one of my deepest fears concerning writing:

The premise of the story is great.
The writing is top of it’s game, or at least, the best I can do.
The character’s are written consistently.
And yet… the book is awful.

It’s an idea that I’ve been thinking about for some time.  And, while all writer’s seem to think that their work is simultaneously the best and worst thing ever written, I have to imagine, it’s possible.

This is where we find another element of writing.  Delivery.

What is delivery, exactly?  Well, in my mind, it’s the way the story is told.  This is a pretty abstract idea, because it’s not the story, it’s not the characters, it’s not the theme, it’s not even the writing.  Well, maybe it’s a little bit about the writing.

But I think it’s mainly about pacing, and picking the right scenes to show.

Your story follows at least one person’s life.  The entirety of their life for that time span in which we see them.  They sleep, they eat, they use the bathroom, they drive, they walk, they think, they hopefully do something interesting.  And that’s what we need to get at.  What’s interesting about them?

You may say, we’ll I’ve got this story about people going to a parallel universe (**cough**Otherworlders**cough**) cause a virus has destroyed the world, but now they might destroy this other world and they have to escape the man that would see them all killed.  Alright.  Cool.  One thing I hear a lot is that “it’s a strong premise”.  But does that matter if all I show is people trying to convince the president that it’s the right decision?  I mean, yes, I have that in the book.  But how much is too much?  What if, instead of showing people dying horrifically from the virus, I just said a bunch of people died?  That’d be bad.  What if I rushed through everything just to get to the fight scenes?  Probably not that good either.

There needs to be timing and balance.  You have to discover what elements of your story are interesting, and which are necessary.

And yes, you need to write it well, and have your characters be specific and real, and consistent and interesting, and it should have a theme.

Like I said, this one is sort-of an abstract thought.  I hope I’m conveying it well.  But when you read through what you’ve written, or hopefully when you’re writing it the first time, keep your delivery of the story in mind.  Because there is a world of difference when it comes to story and story telling.