I saw a post about writing fiction that the reader is forced to read quickly. In theory, I think it’s a fine idea to impel a reader forward. All good stories make the reader speed up, looking for answers to the questions a writer has raised. I tend to speed read, and while it gets me through a novel quickly it doesn’t help me savor beautiful turns of phrase. That said, readers want action.
Writing Tip for Today: By tightening up the plot points, dialogue and other action-related elements, the reader is hurtled through a story. Most of us need to heed the advice not to linger too long in any scene, any chunk of narrative. What are some ways to accomplish this “fast fiction?”
- Rule of 3. In dialogue, speed up your story by keeping lines short and not allowing a character to say more than three lines before cutting away to another speaker, action or other “beat.”
- More Rule of 3. Limit back story or narrative to 3 sentences or 3 paragraphs, depending on the situation.
- Eliminate Extra Scenes. Unless your character is going to be attacked in the shower, leave out the mundane things we all do. Waking up, smelling coffee, etc. must have a purpose other than to show a character waking up and smelling coffee.
- Make Characters Work. Literally. Why can’t characters talk WHILE they wash dishes, garden, fix cars? Try not to put your characters at a table too often.
- Develop Your Voice. If readers know what to expect from your “voice,” they can read faster because they know what to expect.