Not Writer’s Block
I imagine that The Dreaded writer’s block will always be waiting in the closet. Even when preparing posts for E3ink, I hit blank spots and rewrites. Writer’s block gets a lot of coverage, but after publishing Orchids Ablaze I discovered writer’s block wasn’t the only troll under the bed. Even when the words are easy to find, a few things have been known to wake me in the middle of the night.
Did I miss something obvious? Is one of my readers saying “I can drive a truck through that hole in the story!”?
I’m not speaking of the automatic rifles in action movies (that I love…) that fire 547 rounds (approximately) without swapping magazines. I’m talking about those times when I just shake my head and sigh at what just happened. My favorite example in action movies is the phenomenally proficient martial artist that just waded through (approximately) 53 people with murder on their minds. The fight where physics is held in abeyance. Then comes the final confrontation with the evil villain, the final battle! And our screaming hero charges across the room with arms wide open and leaps through the air at his arch-foe!
Insert sigh here.
Before I ever knew what martial arts were, I would have said that was a singularly bad tactic. Forget the physical side of the equation for a moment. Why in the world would I abandon all the techniques that just saved my life 53 times? Just yell really loud and charge? An action movie usually isn’t about details, but cinematic impact. It’s only a second and quickly forgotten or overridden by what follows. In books it’s different, at least to me. I’m reading at my speed and I can re-read and play the scene over and over again.
And then I think: why in the world would that character do that?
The Dreaded Question
That’s what I call a logic gap. Seeing (and reading) them in other stories makes me wonder if I missed something similar in my own. Readers may overlook punctuation errors. They may be willing to skip over misspelled words. Starting a sentence with a preposition? Splitting an infinitive? I may get away with those. If the readers stops and thinks “why in the world would that character do that?”, then I’ve pulled the reader out of the story, out of the experience. I haven’t stayed true to the character and the story suffers.
I want my readers to be able to lose themselves in an alternate reality, at least for a little while. The whole goal is to keep readers in the story.
Besides, with the wonders of electronic publishing, I can revise punctuation and spelling and split infinitives without waiting years for another print run. It’s amazing to think I can improve the reading experience without waiting four or five years for a “revised edition”.
Ain’t technology grand?