Sunday, November 8, 2009

Blog Chain Post: Drama!

drama Pictures, Images and Photos

Today's blog chain topic was chosen by Christine who asked:

How do you create a wonderfully dramatic story? Are there any questions you ask yourself, or specific things you keep in mind to ensure that you have the level of tension necessary to propel the story forward?

Now, if you have a moment, I highly encourage you to start at the beginning of this chain and read through. You'll find some fabulous answers. Answers that I was ready to give myself.

Things like:

1. Bringing on the pain. Making your character's fears come to life.
2. Keeping their desires in front of them, but just out of reach.
3. Treating each chapter like its own mini story arc.

Because I'd hate to repeat what's already been said, I can offer what I hope would be one little pearl of wisdom on the matter. It's something my fabulous agent, Chris Richman, has pointed out to me several times.

Short chapters.

Sounds too easy, right?

But it works. Short chapters keep the story moving at a fast pace, and a fast pace equals drama. How many times have you found yourself reading late at night and skipping ahead to see when the chapter ends. If it ends in a couple pages you'll keep reading. And if the next chapter is only a few pages long you'll read to the end of that one. And so on and so on.

But if you're reading late at night and the next chapter break is thirty pages away, chances are you'll put the book down until morning.

So there you have it. Sorry again for the late post. Check out Shaun's response before mine and Rebecca's which will be posted later today or tomorrow.


  1. Awesome answer!!! I love reading shorter chapters!

  2. My chapters used to be really long, but they've become shorter over time. I guess that's my way of backing up your agent's advice.

  3. Great answer. And here I was worried that my NaNo WiP had chapters that were too short. That's not to say they don't need a bit of editing to add some more in, but it's nice to know I might be on the right path. Nice post.

  4. If I had my way, each scene would be a different chapter. I think you're right, (and so is Chris) it's easier to read and helps keep the story moving.

  5. Shorter chapters really do keep the pace going fast and furious, and you are the queen of torturing characters.

  6. Love this. I just got done reading a book that had longer chapters. It was a great book, but my reading time has been cut down to just before bed and I did find myself constantly looking ahead to find out how much more of the chapter was left.

    Conversely, I read a book, LIAR, that had very short chapters. It kept the book moving at an insane pace that was really satisfying.