Today’s reblog comes from Nathan Bransford, who discusses some of the nitty-gritty details of getting across information when a scene is on the move.
Sometimes it’s hard to know when to reveal different pieces of information. Bransford suggests the simple and expedient route: give the reader the information they need to understand the scene, and give it to them up-front. Don’t make a scene a puzzle to piece together as you read it.
When you’re honing the narrative voice within your novel, you will likely get into all sorts of trouble if you try too hard to faithfully recreate a character’s contemporaneous thoughts. You probably won’t give the reader the context they need and you’ll risk disorienting the reader with inadequate physical description.
Remember, the narrative voice is storytelling to a reader. You are not transcribing the literal thoughts of someone in an alternate world (unless you’re writing something very experimental). It weaves in a character’s contemporaneous thoughts, but you have to make sure the elements the reader needs are present.
One major pitfall of trying too hard to stay true to a character’s thoughts is that some writers will wait for a “pause” in the action before they show the character observing their surroundings and concoct triggers for characters to look at things.