How Can Readers Know Information Unless I Tell Them?

image by TPHeinz

When information and explanations

interrupt,

slow the story’s pace, or

bore or frustrate readers

writers need to hear, “Much information and explanations

aren’t necessary,

shouldn’t be told through author intrusion,

can be fed in a little at a time,

can be given without head hopping, and

should be shown through actions and dialogue.

Here’s an example.

Information and Explanation Overkill

“How are you today, Todd?” CNA Cassie, her title meaning Certified Nursing Assistant, said to nursing home resident, Todd, a thirty-year-old man who’d been in Serenity Nursing Home since his car accident a month ago.

“No worse than yesterday.” Todd hoped Cassie would deliver his breakfast and leave. He didn’t feel like talking.

image by dfbailey

Todd was missing one leg below the knee and the opposite hand. After he’d seen his girlfriend enter a restaurant with his business rival, he’d texted her while driving. The rescue squad had to cut him out of his wrecked car.

Todd’s therapist would arrive soon. Danny had become his friend and watched TV with him after his shift.

CNA Cassie set his tray on his roll table, the kind all nursing home rooms had. “Todd, you need to eat more.” She’d checked with the nurse and learned he’d lost ten pounds because he ate less.

She was drawn to Todd and had enjoyed bantering with him until he’d stopped about a week ago. She’d thought he liked her more than a CNA or a friend.

She removed his comb from his bedside table drawer, but when she tried to comb his hair Todd stopped her with the arm that still had a hand.

Why’d Cassie always have to do things for him? She knew he could comb his hair with his right hand.

Cassie, downcast, but wanting to show she didn’t care he’d pushed her away, grabbed his laundry bag and left the room.

image by OpenClipart-Vectors

Analysis

  • Choose only Cassie’s point of view because the scene’s main purpose is to show Cassie’s feelings for Todd.
  • Save how Todd lost his limbs for a later scene to add suspense and boost a sagging story middle.
  • See below. I’ve deleted unnecessary information and explanations and worked other information into Cassie’s thoughts and dialogue to get the story moving.

Improved Scene

Certified Nursing Assistant Cassie carried a breakfast tray into Carl’s room and smiled. “How are you today, Carl?”

“No worse than yesterday,” Carl mumbled.

Cassie rolled her eyes. Every day for the last week, he’d been grumpier than the day before. If only Carl understood missing a hand and a leg below the knee didn’t make him a freak.

He thumbed the bed control device and raised himself to a sitting position. His arm stub nudged the TV remote aside on the roll table.

Cassie set the tray in front of him and opened his milk carton. “Your therapist is scheduled for ten.”

“Don’t you think I know that? Danny’s the only one I can stand around here.”

Cassie forced her smile to remain as she unsheathed his straw. “Try to eat more this morning.” She inserted the straw into the carton. “You need to gain your weight back.”

Carl grunted.

Why wouldn’t he look at her? In the first weeks, their banter had been fun. For a good-looking guy of thirty, he could have an enjoyable life. When Serenity Nursing Home released him, she’d gladly date him.

image by waldryao

“During my afternoon break, would you like me to wheel you around the garden?”

He stabbed a sausage link. “No.”

“I thought you enjoyed the walks. Would you go if someone else took you outside?”

He met her gaze as he bit off the end of the sausage. “It’s not you. I just prefer my own company.”

Her heartbeats fluttered. She wasn’t his problem. Maybe with time …

She glanced at his unruly dark curls. How she’d love to touch them. She removed his comb from the bedside table. “Let’s make you presentable for your own company.”

He pointed the fork at her. “Don’t. I can comb my own hair.” He directed the fork toward the door. “Just go.”

A knot formed in Cassie’s throat. No way would she let him see he’d hurt her. She grabbed his laundry bag and left.

How to handle explanations and relay information in your story. Click to tweet.

Look at one of your scenes. How did you relay information?

COOKING UP KISSES – has earned an Amazon #1 bestseller ribbon in two categories!

Five scrumptious e-book romance novellas, all for $0.99 or free on KindleUnlimited. Here’s the link.  Here are the blurbs:

 

 

 

THE INVISIBLE WOMAN IN A RED DRESS BY ZOE M. McCARTHY

Candace Parks lives a passionless life in Richmond. The computer programmer returns to the empty family home in the Blue Ridge Mountains solely to evaluate her job, faith, and boyfriend. Her high school crush, Trigg Alderman, who barely remembers her, visits his Gram next door. Sorting her life out? How about nothing of the sort!

 

LOVE ON A DARE BY MARY MANNERS

Alana Mulvaney’s life is in a holding pattern. Consumed by day-to-day operations of the family business, Alana has no time for fun or romance. But a little fun and a whole lot of romance is just what Alana’s sisters have in mind when they learn childhood friend Donovan O’Reilly has returned to town.
Donovan O’Reilly has loved Alana Mulvaney since he moved in next door to her at the age of five. But he broke her heart when he was forced to leave town, and now that he’s returned home to Winding Ridge he has a second chance to prove himself. But is it too late to earn her trust…and her love…again?

HUMMINGBIRD KISSES BY DELIA LATHAM

Toni Littlebird believes that when she meets the man God created for her, she’ll know—and she’ll love him in that very moment.
But then Dax Hendrick roars into Hummingbird Hollow on a noisy, crippled Harley, stinking up the air and chasing away her beloved hummingbirds. One look into the intruder’s eyes and her heart sinks. He’s “The One.” She’d been right ab

5 Authors Show How To Avoid Writing a Sagging Middle

“The middle of our story should be the ‘meat’ of the story, as far as conflicts and arcs. Without setting up the obstacles here, any solution in the final act will seem too easy and won’t be as satisfying.” —Jamie Gold

image by HannekeV
image by HannekeV

I pulled 5 books from my shelves. I paged to the middle scene of each book. Here’s what happened in each novel in the scene just past middle. (No spoilers.)

1. The Last Sin Eater by Francine Rivers

Rivers didn’t let me rest long from a big revelation. She teased me with a ruse to free Cadi away from her parents to make a clandestine visit. Then Cadi’s brother, who’s loyal to her father, pushes Cadi for the truth. While I’m fearful for Cadi, Rivers has Cadi reveal her life’s burning secret. Now Cadi feels called to do activities that’ll put her in danger.

With the promise of new obstacles and danger, no sagging middle here.

2. Secrets by Kristen Heitzmann

Stars from BookHeitzmann reveals to Rese a secret about her mother in the middle scene. Rese tells Lance about her childhood with her mother, and Lance shares a secret from his past to show Rese he understands. Then he drags Rese from one place to another challenging her to do things he knows are good for her. But this causes her to panic, a reaction to her biggest secret of all.

What will happen next?

3. Blind Justice by James Scott Bell

When lawyer Jake thinks he’s done well in court, the judge gives him a “Doc Marten to the stomach.” In the next scene, he’s tempted to surrender to his damaging habit. When his client’s sister arrives to offer help, he rebuffs her overtures. But he has conflicting feelings toward her. She relates an instance from their childhood, to show him what he’s doing now. He runs her off, then feels he’s lost “the last light of day.”

Bell refuses to ease the tension in the middle.

4. The Shunning by Beverly Lewis

image by Foto-Rabe
image by Foto-Rabe

Midway through the book, Lewis reveals a secret from the past. A “big problem” accompanies the secret on the eve of Katie’s marriage. Lewis adds to the tension and gives Katie anxious feelings about marrying someone who isn’t her first love. Then Lewis stirs more tension and foreshadows in Katie’s thoughts reactions to the “big problem.”

 

Are similarities occurrng to keep the middle taut? Meaningful secrets, revelations, problems, obstacles, tension, and more secrets.

5. The Road to Testament by Eva Marie Everson

image by mike foster
image by mike foster

In the middle scene, even though the guy Ashlynne’s attracted to breaks their date, she thinks she’s made progress in handling her situation in Testament. In the subsequent scene with Will, the guy I want her to like, I think, Oh no, Ashlynne, don’t go there, as Everson sets up Ashlynne for a fall. Ashlynne over confidently refuses to listen to Will’s warning against her decision.

Again, a problem is used to keep the tension going, romantic and otherwise. I must turn the page to find out what happens.

If you want to avoid a sagging middle, design a meaningful revelation, secret, new problem, tension, or obstacle to make the reader need to know the next turn in the character’s journey.

5 examples of what’s needed to avoid a sagging middle in your novel. Click to tweet.

What happens after the middle scene of the book you’re reading, or writing?

How to Write Your Next Novel with Point and Click

“There are no shortcuts in life – only those we imagine.” —Frank Leahy

 

file0001423771801.jpgHave you sunk over a thousand hours into a manuscript and sent out a proposal? Did letters dribble back with rejections? Or do you dread starting your next contracted book?

I watched a video on how to create a flyer. The woman point-and-clicked a tasteful bake sale flyer in about 3 minutes. So why not a novel?

Tweetables

    • Instead of sinking 1000 hours into your next novel, what if you could point-and-click it done?
      click to tweet
    • Write a novel in 3 hours using the new software: Point & Click a Novel (P&CAN)?
      click to tweet

Step 1:  Go to SETUP. Click on Audience. Point and click.

o   Women < 40

o   Women > 40

o   Women = 40

o   Teens going on 40

o   Men

o   Horse lovers

by PHZ D. WUJCIK
by PHZ D. WUJCIK

Step 2:  Return to SETUP. Click on Genre. Point and click.

o   Funny

o   Serious

o   Scary

o   Car chases and Uzi battles

o   Horse adventures (Dog & cat capers available in P&CAN’s premium version.)

Step 3:  Return to SETUP. Click on Length. Point and click.

o   Comic book

o   Short story

o   Novella

o   Novel

o   War & Peace 

Step 4:  Go to RULES. Click on one for each rule.

file0001403772284o   1__ Heroine’s point of view; 2__ Head hop;  3__Mustang’s point of view

o   1__ Ban adverbs;  2__Ban –ly adverbs;  3__Freely use very, really, and quite

o   1__Show 5 senses;  2__No touchy-feely;  3__No tasteless characters

o   1__Sprinkle clichés;  2__Use manicured lawn in settings;  3__Use proverbial often

file000529187082Step 5:  Go to TITLES. Click on option.

o   One-word name, computer-generated from most popular first names.

o   Find the perfect horse moniker here.

o   Type in 3 words repeated often in the story. 1_____ 2_____ 3_____ (P&CAN will supply a title using all 3.)

o   Title meaningless to the story but sounds great. (P&CAN guarantees the publisher won’t change this title.)

Step 6:  Go to THEME. Choose and click.

o   A rogue learns to be nice, or at least nicer.

o   Aliens conquer transformers on the prairie and save the palominos.

o   Count Duke marries Lord Earl’s niece to prevent a land war.

o   Bad teen grows up, comes home, and finds himself.

o   Good teen grows up, leaves home, and finds his long-lost preschool love.

o   Murder stumps detective until he suspects his femme-fatale partner.

Step 7:  Go to SAGGING MIDDLE FILLER. Choose and click.

o   Heroine and chum catch up on events since 4-H club.

o   Hero learns how to shoe a bucking bronco.

o   Hero and heroine exchange letters while he makes his fortune on an oil rig.

o   Uzi shootouts between camouflaged big-game hunters and aerobic ladies clad in paisley tights.

Step 8:  Go to ENDINGS. Choose and click.

file0001168107757o   Boy gets girl (Variation: Girl gets boy)

o   Depressing but realistic

o   Happy trails

o   Cliff hanger

o   Hero walks away unscathed from a car pile-up and collars the identify thief

Step 9:   Go to Submit. Click. You should receive your novel in less than 2.5 hours.

<<<>>>

Tweetable

  • Lighten your perspective on writing and keep on plugging.
    click to tweet

When the size of your new project sometimes outweighs your love of writing, how do you handle it?