Walk the Line

Do you Walk the Line?

It depends on what line, I guess. So what lines do you walk? I walk the Line between being a mother/wife/maid/cook and being a writer. That line gets blurred everytime I am in the middle of a scene and I get called to wipe someone’s butt, but I try.

I walk the line between being a night owl and an early bird. I have seen both sides of 4am way too often. I prefer to greet it incoming knowing I have a pillow at the end of the line.

I walk the line between writing romance and cheese. *needle across a vinyl record* skriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitch

Cheese?  Yes cheese. Well, cheese food. As in that cheesy crap that gets mass produced full of preservatives and color enhancers and chemical compounds better suited to a drug company.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love cheese food. Slap it on some bread and butter, heat and instant hot sandwich. It fills a hole and is comfort food. Nice with soup.

I prefer real cheese. Same concept, sandwich, salad topping, alone, but BETTER cause it is real. It can be pale or dark, sharp or smooth, creamy or pungent. It is still cheese though. Great with wine or fruit.

The line between romance and cheese might seem funny to non-romance writers/readers, but we know it when we see it. It’s that invisible line we draw in our mind to suspend our ability to believe one more word.Cross that line and it is an excuse for the book to hit the wall, or the delete file, and your name to be used in conjunction with words unsuitable for small children. Your readers feel cheated.

Think about your favorite movie. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Got it?  What is it?  At what point do you think to yourself, Can I really believe this? The mob is somewhat unbelievable in scope of reach and evil. Michael Myers anyone? Sci-fi has to draw you in fast before that line is crossed or it gets waaaaaaaaaaay too unbelievable. Actions movies? Yeah, how can a hired assassin fire 16 times and MISS the hero all 16 times? I would be calling the Assassin Better Business Bureau on that one.  But if done well, I will buy it. We buy whole worlds all the time! Matrix? Remember it?

There is a line between well-done and over-done that isn’t just for steaks. Some is personal preference and there you just cross your fingers but for a large part is is knowing WHEN TO STOP WRITING.

Yes, less words. Less description, less action, less…everything.

In these vital moments in a story, (movie or book) the writer has to be a compass rather than a guide. Point the viewer/reader in the right direction, give them the basics and wait on the other side to pick them back up. Trust that the reader has an imagination, that you have guided them this far and let it carry them through the pivotal moment. Don’t cram it down their throats. Choking on over done steak and cheese is a great way to die. Dead readers don’t return.

The subtle art of luring you in, and taking your mind on a journey and leaving you breathless at the end is a hard one to master but oh-so-worth it. Show them through action how a character feels, don’t use eleventy thousand words to tell them. One simple thumb swipe from a hero across a heroine’s cheek is worth six pages of heart felt words. The subtleties define the line.

Where do you draw your lines and how fine an edge is it? Do you walk the line? I hope I do. I am getting better and better at this. I try and each tale gets tighter, more impactful and, I hope, better. Well done. not over done. Line, walked.

Oh, BTW…I got a contract for JINXED. Yep, soon to be non-unpublished writer. I earned my W in Writer. or as one Diva told me. I get an A for Author. I walked that line and reached the end.  Damn, what a trip!



Filed under Inez, writing

4 responses to “Walk the Line

  1. Neith

    Okay, you lost me with cheese….

    But, congratulations on the sale. Woot! and I do understand there are lines.

    A line with which I particularly have trouble is balancing backstory with other elements. I ALWAYS want to tell more of the backstory. It’s interesting. Why don’t you want to know about it, too? I find myself going back through and weeding out lots of backstory that isn’t pertinent to the main.


  2. mamadivine

    Do I walk the line? Depends who drew it.

    I agree there is a line between well done and over done. I think as writers, we sometimes underestimate our readers and underestimate our ability to communicate details.

  3. Walk the line? I trip over it! It’s a constant struggle to be sure I’m presenting my story in a believable light and not stretching reader’s imaginations further than they’re willing to go.

    Btw, congrats on your upcoming publication. 🙂

  4. Charlotte McClain

    The end! No, no, no. This is just the beginning. This is one of those implausible lines that stretches to infinity. Keep walking.

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