So this week’s chapter is about something I recently realized in my writing. When I was writing, I felt like there was something missing, which is common because I will always think that there is a way to make my writing better. But this was something that was leaving a gap in the story that I needed to fill. It was something that didn’t affect the plot, but did affect the realism of the story.
Backstory: When I first developed the story, I took into account that my characters would fall in love or become good friends, or develop some sort of relationship and that this would affect the plot. I took this into account, and I made sure that some things, like sacrifices or risks, occurred because of these bonds.
I wrote the entire first draft before I realized what I was doing wrong. Well, not wrong exactly; there is no wrong way to write. Here’s what it was: I was showing how strong the bonds between my characters were, but I wasn’t showing the littles things.
Remember how I said it was important to show small things like facial expressions and people doing things we usually ignore? Yeah, well that apparently goes for everything.
Towards the end of my story, I have one character make a suge sacrifice for another. This is one of those bigger things that demonstrate just how strong the bond between these two characters was. the problem was the little things: I never wrote anything about how they might do things for each other, might smile at bad jokes, or hand them the food first, or waits for them to catch up when no other character will. These are the things that really show how much they rely on each other.
If you think about it, it make a ton of sense. If someone you don’t know steps in front of a bullet for you, they probably have some kind of outside influence that made them do it. Like when the morphling stepped in front of the monkey in Catching Fire, to save Peeta, and he didn’t even know their name. It was because the morphling was contributing to the master plan that Haymitch had cooked up with the Rebels of District 13.
But if someone steps in front of a bullet and you know them, and they’ve done all of those things for you, then it is because of the bond you have created between each other. Like in the first book, Hunger Games, when Peeta risks his life to let Katniss get away after the tracker jacker situation. Because of everything leading up to this point, the reader knew that he did this because he cared about her.
It’s the things that are small, but have a big effect. Like not getting to say goodbye to someone you love, like Katniss in Catching Fire, or Kate and Sawyer in Lost season 2.
See what I mean?
Anyway, I think that the bond between characters in my story is definite because of the bigger things, which is good, but the smaller things are what I have to go back and add in. It shouldn’t really be that hard, since it is only like the filling between the oreos. It’s the cookie part that gives the crunch, but the white stuff in the middle gives you the full effect.
Anyway, there’s another thing that I wanted to mention in this chapter, because it kind of goes along with this.
I watched a video on youtube called “Repetition- Phil Kaye”. It is an awesome poem written and performed by Phil Kaye himself, and it has an awesome meaning. Basically, he talks about how you can say a word over and over and eventually it loses its meaning.
For example: say the word “food” fifteen times right now. Out loud. Seriously. It loses all meaning to you, even though food is something that you will always need.
It goes the same for words in a book, or the little things that a character does for another character. If someone says “I love you” for the first time, it’s a big deal. If, from there, you have your characters say it to each other every time one of them leaves the room, it is a reminder, sure, but eventually it blends into the background, like the word “food”. It becomes meaningless and has no power to make your reader feel anything.
That’s all for this week, I guess. Sorry that I’m not updating Holding My Breath that much, but I’m really into my novel right now.
If you like spoken word poetry, check out the ones listed below. They are all on youtube:
“If I Should have a Daughter” -Sarah Kay (this one is part of a Ted Talk too)
“Look Up” -Gary Turk (the video is amazing)
“Hiroshima” -Sarah Kay
“Repetition” -Phil Kaye