What's Your Angle--by Reb MacRath

You may be in either camp or be a hybrid, as I am. In the course, though, of writing a novel we may all come to the same block: we know where to go  and exactly what to do there...but we can't seem to figure out how to get there smoothly and efficiently.

I found myself on a roll with my WIP when the ending of the seventh chapter threw me for a loop. Consider:

Chapter 7 ends with two of the three main characters--let's call them A and B--engaged in risky business in a small Arizona town. They've arranged for C to follow them days later on a different pretext, apparently looking for work. But, unknown to them, something has happened in Tucson.

Chapter 8. Change of POV. Cut to character C, left behind in Tucson. Because of what's happened, he chooses to leave a day early though he can't reach A and B by phone. The challenge: getting him on the road and to his destination, while filling readers in on the Tucson tragedy. Road trip? Flashbacks? I tried a dozen different tacks, feeling morose and discouraged.

But I came to find the solution in the fine art of angling one's entry. At what point do we enter a challenging scene, particularly one with a different POV? I might start with C in the Tucson office, preparing for his road trip, and arranging for someone to cover the office in his absence, when he learns the dire news, etc. Or I might start with C gunning the engine of his beloved Mustang, and covering the back story while he's on the road. Or I might start with C a mere 3 miles from his destination with the news and his anxieties racing through his mind. Or...

Even the most resolute pantsers may need to pause now and then to reflect upon angling an entry. This may save them thousands of words and help keep readers seated at the edges of their seats.

This is my report. 


Welcome to MacRathWorld, if you like premium blends of mystery, action, and suspense. From Caesar's Rome to Seattle today, the twists fly at the speed of night. If you're unfamiliar with my work, I recommend starting with the new Seattle BOP mysteries. Here's the link to my AuthorPage on Amazon for a detailed look at the variety of 'rides' in my amusement park.



Umberto Tosi said…
Fastball right in the zone, Reb. With your usual wit. Thanks. I'm definitely a "paantser," pretending to plan. I hit a wall at about 60K words into my upcoming detective yarn #3, and spent months figuring out just where the hell I was going ... Maybe I've got it solved, maybe not. Yet I breezed through the first two in the series which turned out well if I do say so... Go figure.
Reb MacRath said…
Glad you outsmarted that late wall, Umberto. Sometimes it's a matter of our keeping on keeping on.

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