It's my estimation that... every man ever got a statue made of him, was one kind of sumbitch or another.

Mal ,'Jaynestown'


The Great Write Way, Chapter Two: Twice upon a time...  

A place for Buffistas to discuss, beta and otherwise deal and dish on their non-fan fiction projects.


Strix - Feb 16, 2005 3:43:36 pm PST #26 of 10001
A dress should be tight enough to show you're a woman but loose enough to flee from zombies. — Ginger

More than once, less than 4, sure, Susan. Unless it's a huge, whopping, "Back when I was...OOPS I almost revealed my BIG SECRET" hint, and then I think that would be enough.

When authors beat you over the head with a secret and (a) you figure it out too quickly or (b) they build up way too much for the reveal to justify the secret ("Wow -- so she dyes her hair? Huh.") that's crazymaking to me.


Susan W. - Feb 16, 2005 3:49:12 pm PST #27 of 10001
Good Trouble and Righteous Fights

When authors beat you over the head with a secret and (a) you figure it out too quickly or (b) they build up way too much for the reveal to justify the secret ("Wow -- so she dyes her hair? Huh.") that's crazymaking to me.
And I'm worried about both of these. (a) because I'm not the first writer ever to use this particular secret at as a plot device, and (b) because if I'm not careful readers might think I'm hinting at something else that's a bigger deal, and would be kinda cool, plotwise, but would add more complications than this story needs and be out of character for Anna, besides.


Strix - Feb 16, 2005 3:52:14 pm PST #28 of 10001
A dress should be tight enough to show you're a woman but loose enough to flee from zombies. — Ginger

That's why you have good betas, doll. You're smart; you know the pitfalls. It'll be ok.


Hil R. - Feb 16, 2005 3:54:33 pm PST #29 of 10001
Sometimes I think I might just move up to Vermont, open a bookstore or a vegan restaurant. Adam Schlesinger, z''l

Yeah, that was one thing that drove me insane about The DaVinci Code (the "what she saw in her grandfather's basement" secret, which I figured out after about the second mention, but then there were about ten more mentions to read through, and then I was just disappointed when the big reveal didn't even have any details I didn't already know), but a little bit would be OK, as long as it was subtle. (I.e., a whole bunch of "she hadn't felt this happy in three years," or having her obviously change the subject when the conversation gets too close to whatever the secret is, or other things within her behavior, rather than just "There was something big that happened then" statements.)


deborah grabien - Feb 16, 2005 3:57:57 pm PST #30 of 10001
It really doesn't matter. It's just an opinion. Don't worry about it. Not worth the hassle.

Susan, does it have to be hinted at by her, or mused over by her? Can the existence of said secret be shown to the reader by way of "her face suddenly smoothed out, becoming blank" moments or incidents, as seen by others?

You know - something reminds her of The Secret and she goes all stony or whatever for a moment, and the reader wonders about it because the character she's interacting with is wondering about it?


Strix - Feb 16, 2005 3:58:14 pm PST #31 of 10001
A dress should be tight enough to show you're a woman but loose enough to flee from zombies. — Ginger

This whole conversation made me think "I STILL want to know what that old lady saw that was "nasty in the woodshed."

That was a great ambiguous way to build up suspense. Granted, we never found out, but it sure has hell kept me wondering. Maybe references to ordinary objects or places that build up a "some thing happened" suspense, but don't let the readers know too much, like "the sight of the lone pink bootie sent her into tears."


deborah grabien - Feb 16, 2005 4:12:35 pm PST #32 of 10001
It really doesn't matter. It's just an opinion. Don't worry about it. Not worth the hassle.

(nodding at Erin's post)

It's a very fair way to build up suspense, besides being a strong one. After all, if a casual sentence suddenly has her sinking her teeth into her lower lip for a moment, the clue will be there, in the sentence, but you, as the author, won't have given it away too early.

I like subtlety. Subtlety is good.


Susan W. - Feb 16, 2005 4:18:44 pm PST #33 of 10001
Good Trouble and Righteous Fights

Can the existence of said secret be shown to the reader by way of "her face suddenly smoothed out, becoming blank" moments or incidents, as seen by others?

Hmm. That'd be tough, both because so far the only POVs I'm planning to use are Anna's and Jack's, and also because I can't offhand think of many noncontrived ways for the topic to come up.

(I.e., a whole bunch of "she hadn't felt this happy in three years," or having her obviously change the subject when the conversation gets too close to whatever the secret is, or other things within her behavior, rather than just "There was something big that happened then" statements.)

I'm definitely going to make sure to vary the hints as much as I can. Hopefully that'll cut down on any annoyance factor.

That's why you have good betas, doll. You're smart; you know the pitfalls. It'll be ok.

This is true. For someone who threw out my first chapter and wrote a completely new 28-page first chapter the first week of this month, then spent the second week beating it into revised submission to make a contest deadline, I have a bad habit of forgetting you can always change something that's not quite working.


Strix - Feb 16, 2005 4:23:22 pm PST #34 of 10001
A dress should be tight enough to show you're a woman but loose enough to flee from zombies. — Ginger

Is is something that could be up in Anna/Kack's convo with others? Like, for instance, if it were a secret baby, s/he could overhear gossip about a suddenly-married girl, and....oh, yeah, I see your difficulty better now.


deborah grabien - Feb 16, 2005 5:01:42 pm PST #35 of 10001
It really doesn't matter. It's just an opinion. Don't worry about it. Not worth the hassle.

Susan, BTW, you might want to ping livejournal; they've been claiming your journal is in read-only mode for over an hour.