I was recently talking to one of my author friends about writing and the inherent frustrations that sometimes happen while telling a story. She compared the writing journey to figure skating and the more we talked about it, the more convinced I was that she was right (don’t get a swelled head, my friend). Close to the end of our talk, we both said “blog material” and so this blog was born 🙂
Figure skating is an amazing sport. Set to music, the skater performs a variety of moves in a couple of minutes without (hopefully) falling. It is a combination of athleticism and grace. This is very similar to telling a story. A good story has BOTH an engaging plot and a spark (inherent grace). The audience looks forward to the triple salchow and the quadruple lutz. These are what I would call the ‘holy crap’ scenes in a book. Many call it the black moments and there are several. For my books the black moments can be about the plot (since I like to blow things up and have supernatural fighting) or about the romance. But you can’t ONLY have blank moments.
Think about it this way.
Even though we love the really difficult moves, if a skater came out on the ice and just did several jumps right in a row it would lose its impact. Those jumps need context. Just as the holy crap scenes need context. You can’t have a powerful black moment if you haven’t allowed the reader to experience the characters and enough of the plot to pull them into the story. In other words, give them the skater gliding across the ice completing the footwork that may look easy, but is essential to tell the whole story so that you can build up to the jump. Make the audience hold their breath and lean forward in their seats.
When the final notes of the song fades away and the skater completes their last move (a fast spin, for instance) we know that we have reached a beautiful ending. And with the end of the routine the skater (or author) can throw their arms in the air in triumph.