Monday, July 18, 2011

WIP Diary: Let Me Explain This To You

I am at the point in this novel (fina-freaking-ly) that I have been thinking of as The Big Reveal. It is at one and the same time a huge relief and a massive pain in the posterior.

Because this means it's time for all of the backstory to come out. Yes, I know there are many nifty techniques to weave backstory into a novel, even if your novel is written in first person present tense and your POV character is utterly ignorant of said backstory. Yeah, you can still get it in there.'s important to keep the reader ignorant as well.

Keeping the reader ignorant without pissing them off has been one juggling act. Now I have to tell the reader everything I've been withholding from him and make it seem natural. And you know what? That's not even the biggest problem!!!

The biggest problem is that there is a supernatural aspect to this story and I am constantly resisting the urge to over-explain it. This is because I am of a pragmatic turn of mind, myself and like everything to have a logical explanation.

But there's that thing called the willing suspension of disbelief and I think in fantasy, it's even more willing than usual. A reader who picks up a fantasy book is already halfway suspended. Not that you can get away with the completely illogical, but you don't need to dissect everything, either, and that's what I have to keep stopping myself from doing.

But it's hard! It's like expecting me not to pester my kids about picking up their dirty clothes! It requires sheer force of will. As I am writing along, I have to keep explanation alert on full blast. When I find myself explaining too much, I cut out the explanation and stick it to the bottom of the ms. That way, I know it's down there if I decide I truly do need it later.

But you know what? So far, it's all still down there.

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