I read Ramona’s post from July 23rd with interest. Being a visual thinker and a math guy (see my last post), Ramona’s First Chapter Coloring Project fit both parts of my personality.
After buying my tools, I made my first discovery: yellow and green from this set look too similar to be useful, so I substituted orange for green and followed Ramona’s rules:
Blue for Action
Orange for Dialogue
Yellow for Description
Pink for Background
I’m sure I miscolored some lines, but in my first chapter of 2,145 words and 143 lines, I found
40 Dialogue lines
30 Description lines
11 Backstory lines
4 Backstory lines contained in dialogue
Oh good, I thought. It’s a nice mix and having only 10% backstory (some of which was nicely hidden in dialogue) is surely acceptable. The longest continuous backstory lasts only four lines. I was golden.
Then I looked at that four line chunk and asked questions.
Was it important information? Yes. Crucial for the reader to understand at the point I added it? Errrr, not exactly. Instead of eliciting this four line history dump with a question from a minor character, I can have my protagonist get defensive and provide this same information in a later scene when a cop questions him, upping the tension of that scene.
Then I looked at the 4 lines of backstory concealed as dialogue. Same questions; same answers.
Of fifteen lines of backstory, all are important for my readers to understand. For seven, the best place (I think) is right where I have them. Two take up one line, one takes up two lines and the third uses three lines.
I’m about to transfer the other eight lines and start coloring chapter 2.
WWK Blogger Paula Gail Benson has two short stories running in Kings River Life Magazine this weekend, "Pelican Spring" and "The Mama Factor." Both are Mother's Day short stories. You can read them by going to: http://kingsriverlife.com/category/kings-river-reviewers/terrific-tales/
Linda Rodriguez is a finalist in two categories for the International Latino Book Awards (given out at BEA the end of May)--one for Every Last Secret and one for editing Woven Voices: 3 Generations of Puertorriquena Poets Look at Their American Lives (with Gloria Vando, Anika Paris, and Anita Velez-Mitchell). Congratulations, Linda!
The second SinC Guppy anthology, Fish Nets, has been released by Wildside Press. WWK authors, Gloria Alden, Warren Bull, Kara Cerise and E. B. Davis have short stories in this volume, which can be bought at Wildside Press, the usual retailers and will be available at the Malice Domestic Conference. Look for "the story behind the stories" on May 1 here!
Upcoming Salad Bowl Saturdays include authors Carolyn Mulford on 5/25 and Liz Mugavero on 6/1. If you are interested in being a guest blogger, send a message to Jim Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org.