Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Christmas Before Halloween?

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Good Grief, Christmas decorations in the stores before Halloween! Can't we enjoy this Season first before rushing to the next one?

My Fall decorations seem out of place somehow, what with all the Christmas lights popping up in the neighborhood. Soon I'll need to get my Christmas card list updated. I wouldn't want to send those cards out too late, say, maybe around Christmas.

You may ask What does her griping have to do about writing?
A lot. When you write, pay attention to sequence. In other words, put the action before the reaction. Don't have someone cry or laugh before first showing a reason for that emotion.

Wrong: Mary wiped the tears from her eyes. The mums reminded her of mother who'd always loved flowers.

Right: The mums reminded Mary of mother, who'd always loved flowers. Mary wiped the tears from her eyes.

Likewise, don't give away the plot right away or you'll ruin the fun for the reader. Spread an information trail first and let the readers follow it to the conclusion.

When you're writing a mystery, you're allowed, even encouraged, to drop in clues ahead of time. Later, the reader and main character can solve the puzzles together.

In other words, to use that sad overused cliche', Don't put the cart before the horse! Or maybe I should say, Don't put Christmas before Halloween!

OH, AND HAPPY HALLOWEEN - OH, WAIT A MINUTE, THAT'S ON UNTIL THE 31ST. I'M PUTTING THE CART BEFORE THE HORSE!

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Morgan Mandel

http://www.morganmandel.com/
http://morganmandel.blogspot.com/



5 comments :

  1. This is a great post. I think sometimes when writing we get ahead of ourselves and try to get things onto paper.

    Oh, how I loathe seeing Santa next to the Dracula costumes...

    ReplyDelete
  2. What I hate most is seeing all the holiday decor up all year 'round, because folks are too lazy to take stuff down and put it away! Something to consider in our writing, too. Do we need to include everything in every single book? This is a good question for a series writer. Contrary to what Mae West said, too much of a good thing just gets old after a while. Editing for "spareness" might just improve the quality of the writing.

    Dani
    http://pdreadful.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. This "pouring the wine before you have a glass" gets us into trouble because we're so anxious to drink.

    It's definitely something to be on the lookout for as you edit your work.

    Thanks Morgan

    ReplyDelete
  4. If I can step in here and be a bit contrary, I actually liked the first way you wrote that example, Morgan. There was more of a dramatic punch to it. Mary wipes the tears from her eyes --- the reader wonders why -- then they are given the punchline that stops their heart for just a second as they relate. I didn't get that dramatic connection with the second version.

    That said, you are right on when it comes to action and reaction. Don't have someone jump and then hear the noise. A person hears the noise first, then jumps. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. We used to have an annual dressup Halloween party every year. That was when we were young and I didn't mind giving parties.(g)
    Now I don't bother.

    It's true that Halloween gets me reminded to get my Christmas card list together. I'm thinking of doing a postcard with Rascal this year. Not sure if it will work.

    Morgan Mandel
    www.morganmandel.com
    http://morganmandel.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete

The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

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