I saw this post over at John Scalzi’s blog - An Anecdotal Observation, Relating to Robert Heinlein and the Youth of Today. It struck me not so much on the Heinlein topic but on the nature of sharing things we love with our kids.
There’s the joy when they enjoy something that’s dear to us.
Then there’s the disappointment when they just don’t go for it at all.
My eight-year-old daughter prefers to discover things in her own time and often leaves my recommendations unexplored.
All I can do is encourage her interests and make available the books and music and movies I think she’d enjoy. This way she can check them out on her terms.
It’s pretty cool. She’s already showing me videos and music that she loves and I’ll continue to do the same. My biggest hope is that the dialogue continues as she grows and that it becomes an integral part of communicating and learning about each other.
If you’ve ever read a story where everything is interconnected or what you thought were loose ends turned out to be anything but, you know of what I speak.
I wasn’t overly conscious of how this happens until I looked over previous drafts of stories I’d written and seen the transformation. Ah ha!
Now when I’m reading for pleasure, I find myself wondering more about the small things. Will this show up later? How does this character fit into the larger story? Or, I hope to hell this all comes together somehow.
Each revision your story should present opportunities for you to better tie aspects of your story to other parts. Never mind the clunky sentence. Look over here! Examples!
- Inserting a relationship between two characters that wasn’t initially there
- A character having knowledge of a setting in the story in which another character is doing their thing
- A character having a remembrance of the same event as the protagonist
Each of these examples, when done well, serve to provide more depth and cohesion. it’s like pulling the strings of a corset and watching everything come together. Not that I’ve ever worn a corset.
When the reader recognizes the connections, they’ll nod their head and love your story just a little more.
Bonus: I just finished taking my sweet-ass time getting through Jeff Vandermeer’s Wonderbook. As I was writing this post, his character circle came to mind. While I couldn’t find the finished version, there is a draft version that I think I like even better.
I’ve been thinking about an idea for my next novel for some time now. I’ve got some research under my belt. I’ve done some rough character sketches, brainstormed conflict points and have thought a great deal about the setting.
But there’s something missing.
I’ve decided to go ahead and take a shot at a short story to help me get a better sense of things. Maybe more than one to sort through the chaff and find the good stuff to build on.
This is a definite departure from my first go round, though I’m not sure it’s any more efficient.
And, hell, if any of the stories seem worthy, I’ll ship them off and see if they land anywhere.