Things I learned this week #1

So I'm looking back over my last edit and a few things have become apparent. The main one is how lucky I am to have an editor that a) believed in Magickless at all and b) had the patience to see past the endless mistakes in my prose.

But there are quite a number of lessons I have learned that will make writing my next book much less painful. ie, less than 5 years to finish.

Lesson #1

Action then Reaction. 

I know this seems like a no brainer but you'd be surprised how easy it is to break. I happen to write predominantly in third person limited. It is my favorite narrative perspective -- it allows for moments of almost omniscient narration but mostly maintains a clear POV that allows for better characterisation. The trap I have fallen into often however, is that it becomes all too easy to state the characters reaction to an event before the event itself is clear.


Bob was thrown across the room by the explosion.

Reads better as:

The explosion threw bob across the room.

Much has been written about this before, but it was never clear to me why I kept making this mistake over and over again. Over the last week it dawned on me. It's because I tend to write as if I'm watching my scenes unfold in a Michael Bay movie; all close ups and chaotic fast cuts. I thought it gave my scenes more intensity -- a sense of mystery that unfolded as more information was revealed almost as if the character themselves were working out the cause of being thrown across the room along with the reader.

But it is better the other way around in prose (and in film too I'd argue) Every. Single. Time.

So that's lesson 1: Action first.

I'll bet I'm not the only one who has these moments of clarity when drafting.



  1. Hi Travis. I know you're a busy man, but I have been given an irresistibly sweet blog award and have chosen you as one of the five I'm forwarding it to. I'll be posting on Monday so whenever you happen by please help yourself to it. Have a great day! (It's a great way to promote your blog.)


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