Saturday, October 10, 2009

How to Cope

Chuck Palahniuk once said something like -- I try to apply enough pressure on my characters that their coping mechanisms break down in 300 pages.

This means that if you don't establish coping mechanisms -- she loves the light switch, touches the light switch, flips it on and off -- the reader can't watch the break down -- he doesn't love her and now she loves the Christmas lights, wraps her body in the lights, stands on the roof wrapped in Christmas lights. It means that you'll be telling us that your characters are breaking down -- Judy was super sad -- instead of letting us see it happen -- Judy was blinking on the roof.

Don't tell us about your characters like you're on one end of a tin can strung to my tin can. We'd like to see it. Better yet feel it.

Blink, blink, blink.