Sometimes we writers sense, despite careful plotting, that not enough is happening, when really what’s wanted is a pause. Best selling Sci-fi author Kathy Tyers calls these pauses moments of beauty. Here readers receive a valuable gift from the narrative: a little time to appreciate all that excellent work in character development.
Think of Tolkein’s Frodo, in the mines of Moria, resting in a moment of relative safety. He has a chance to look around him at this terrible, beautiful world, and we’re privileged to hear him talk with Gandalf as in the old times back in the Shire. Character development here is superbly satisfying, as we get a chance to see how the hero has changed since the days when he loved to listen to Gandalf’s stories, now that he’s in one. And, at the end of that moment, while we’re deep in the beauty of their interaction, Frodo and Gandalf give us the exchange that will resonate to the end of the tale. “What a pity that Bilbo did not stab that vile creature, when he had a chance!” “Pity? It was pity that stayed his hand. Pity, and Mercy: not to strike without need.”
The beauty and calm of such a moment, contrasted with the struggle ahead, achieves a double poignancy. First, we may wish with Frodo that we could stay here forever, and our sympathy and fear for the hero grow stronger because we’ve shared this very private wish for peace with him. Then, as he rises to take on the dangers ahead, we are even more on the hero’s side. Taking time to write moments of beauty makes readers smile, and creates exquisite pace.
I hope you’ll have another brilliant writing day. Cheers. Mel
This week from @yourwritingmuse: You keep track of the way each turning point affects the subplots. Clever work. From your Writing Muse