Tag Archives: JRR Tolkien

One Aspect of Pace in Storytelling: The Morian Pause

manwithhorsesmallSometimes 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

muse smallThis week from @yourwritingmuseYou keep track of the way each turning point affects the subplots. Clever work. From your Writing Muse

Storytelling and the Writer’s Mind

It seems as if our writers’ minds are working all the time.

Take your third act, for example. Everything you’ve outlined and drafted from the start results in shifts in your story, and your subconscious writer’s mind is keeping track of it all, each interwoven strand, keeping the sense of the whole story. This way you take some small but important aspect of the beginning and with it affect something vital at the end, which will resonate throughout your tale.

One great example you’ll remember from Lord of the Rings.  Bilbo’s kindness in not killing Gollum, who would have killed him, is echoed repeatedly in Frodo’s less certain relationship with the wicked creature, and at last forces the outcome of the third act showdown.

Do you remember the posy of unusual flowers Allaigna received from a stranger in Verse 4 of Allaigna’s Song (Pulp Literature Issue 2), which comforted her when she was alone in the woods in Verse 13 (PL #5)?  Without too many spoilers I can let you know you’ll see it again in Issue 8 and further down the road, its significance growing each time it appears.

Isn’t it grand how much our writing minds know? We learn these things instinctively as readers, but grow even more as writers as we employ our craft over and over on scales as small as a clever word choice and large as the whole world we created.