Take Your Time, Part 4
Long time no talk to.
This post is unabashedly copied and pasted from my Journal at https://hestanbrough.com. Ya'll come on over.
Be forewarned, I’m in a satirical, cynical, fun-loving, finger-wagging mood today. But with a lesson. With that in mind, read on.
I’ve read several novels in which the characters are apparently capable of quantum movement.
As I understand it (and I am often wrong) the term “quantum motion” is most often applied to describe a quirk of quarks, which are teewinesy subatomic particles, when quantum physicists note that those particles have moved mysteriously from one place to another without having physically crossed the intervening space.
Such motion should appear only in SF or fantasy novels, but even then the movement should be noted by the author as being the result of some kind of “beam me up” technology in SF or of fantastic magic in fantasy.
Unfortunately, that is not always the case. At least one time in a heaving-bosom romance novel, Heathcliff was talking with Matilda in the drawing room with a balcony off to one side, and then suddenly, either in the same sentence or the very next one, he was standing on the balcony looking out over the moors as he continued his heart-felt plea.
Yet neither he nor Matilda ever so much as walked thoughtfully or otherwise toward the heavily draped windows overlooking the balcony. Nor did either of them draw the drapes to reveal the door to the balcony. Nor did either of them consider (to the reader’s knowledge) going outside, turning the doorknob, or actually stepping onto the balcony. They were just suddenly there.
All that melodramatic BS was to say this: When you’re writing a scene, take your time.
You have a POV character, so allow him to express his POV. As he moves into or through a setting or from one setting (the drawing room) to another (the balcony), the POV character sees, hears, smells, touches and maybe tastes various bits of the setting. Slow down and let him put those things on the page through your fingers on the keyboard.
If you do, you will eventually be rewarded by a reader commenting that she “felt she was in the scene with the characters” or some such thing. If you don’t, the next time the reader is at a water cooler, she’ll be discussing how stymied and lost she felt while reading “some book” instead of praising the storyline by “Author Name.”
Quantum physics, even as it applies to quarks and other subatomic particles, is theoretical. It definitely does not apply to human beings or other whole creatures, which are made up of Carl Sagan’s billions and billions of subatomic particles, all gathered in one place.
Be careful out there. Take your time.
If you’d like a less-cynical take on this topic, please see “Take Your Time” at https://harveystanbrough.com/pro-writers/take-your-time/ and “Take Your Time (Revisited)” at https://harveystanbrough.com/pro-writers/take-your-time-revisited/ and “Take Your Time: Part 3” at https://harveystanbrough.com/pro-writers/take-your-time-part-3/. I stand by anything I wrote there that makes sense. (grin)
“That” and other words of interest
In today’s “Of Interest” (at the Journal, https://hestanbrough.com/the-journal-take-your-time/) is a link to a post titled “That’s That.”
Toward the end of the post, the author asks whether readers of the post are confused by when to use “that” and when to omit it.
I’m not. I write how I write, and on cycling I often take out some instances of “that” and leave others alone.
Here are a few guidelines for “that” enthusiasts:
1. Use “who” when referring to people (or job titles) and use “that” at all other times when talking about non-human creatures or inanimate items. (Unless you have personified a non-human creature as I have my kitten. Feel free to us “sho” then also.)
2. Any uses of “that” that occur when not describing people or other creatures or items are not extraneous, but dependent on how specific you want to be.
3. “That” is never simply interchangeable with “which,” which is a whole other ball of ugly that has to do with even finer specificity. If you’re confused about its use, look it up. But check at least a few sources as some of them get it wrong.
I’m not sure I’ve ever had a day of writing like I had yesterday. Over 6000 words on the day. I believe that’s my personal best. I celebrated a little. Today is a new day, and the novel continues to run.
'Til next time, happy writing!