Thursday, 3 November 2011

Nanowrimo Break: Handwavium and Transitions

John Connolly's Every Dead Thing is a little rough, and one of the most delightfully gory mysteries I've torn through in a long while. For someone who usually devours horror movies and peppers her sci-fi diet with The Cat Who... Every Dead Thing was a welcome respite. Though it suffers from the tragic past hero, it has an intriguing (and conveniently helpful) secondary cast of an assassin and master thief, Every Dead Thing moves quickly through sometimes not quite explained transitions. We are at point A, now we are at Point B, now we see my old friend. Now my old friend is dead, look at my dead old friend, meticulously dissected atop his equally dead wife in a creepy yet totally memorable scene.

Anyway, this is one of those books (and series) I return to when I want some handwavium. My transitions usually suffer from real-worldism, where we actually have to walk out to the car, and open the door, and fiddle with our keys. In book world, we are simply driving. Last page we were in San Francisco, and now we are in Las Vegas! Did we mean to be in Las Vegas? Who knows? Who cares! Look at the pretty lights!

Writing 50,000 words in 30 days means taking some big leaps of faith in terms of travel, changing groups of people, and on occasion, surprise action scenes. Writing at any point can use a little handwavium, so long as your reader can handle a little handwavium. Remember suspension of disbelief, and the value of your reader coming back for the sequel.

Something I find helps is sitting for a few minutes and asking myself what is absolutely necessary to get this message across? Do I need to show us on the road? Do I need to explain the ninja? Can we just have the evil guy over here, suddenly? Would that be really cool? When I strip the scenes down to the absolutes, it makes the writing go faster, the reading, and at times, the head scratching. Anyway, if "The Most Terrifying Thriller Since Silence Of The Lambs" (see cover above) is not your slice of pie, try Jim Butcher's Dresdenfiles. For some reason, I have Small Favor listed on my outline for this post, so I suppose it must be an example of handwavium. I recommend the whole series, just so you too can spend all of White Knight with a big fan-service grin on your face.

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