Thursday, January 30, 2014

Is Less Really More?

Hi there. It's Karlie on the mic today.

I'm a big fan of fade to black, both in violence and otherwise. I feel like it gives the scene - and the action - a greater emotional impact.
  But on the other hand, there's a voice saying, "But what if the reader doesn't get it? Will they be put off by the vagueness? What if the scene doesn't affect them at all?"
  Rationally, both from reading about others' preferences and my own experiences, I know different. But it's hard not to spell every single thing out. Our thoughts and perceptions of each scene, each character, each subtly symbolic action, are so important to us we want to make sure everyone else sees it that way too.
However, this can lessen the impact of our words. Just like over explaining the punch line of a joke, it sucks all the meaning from it.
So how do you feel about fade to black?

Lisa: I'd like to fade to black sometimes (for my own sanity) but I feel like that leaves the reader out in the cold. There's no impact. Your character has been impacted but not your readers. What's better than describing every single thing that's happening is giving more of the character's emotional reaction to the events. I'm not saying in sex scenes we have to say this went here and that went there. Just don't leave off with he asked me to make love with him and I said yes...fade...waking up an hour later and pulling the sheet to my chest.

Caitlin: It depends. Is it important for the reader to “witness” the scene? Is something gained by leaving those details out? I have a fade to black sex scene in one project and kept it that way (so far) because it makes an actual (light) sex scene later in the book stronger. There are some scenes, too, where it would just be boring or redundant to “sit in” on, and you don’t want to bore your reader! Those can be summarized or left off at the point where the reader understands what is happening. (For example, if one character is about  to tell another character a great secret, but the reader already knows the great secret, we may not need to detail the actually telling. Once it is clear that character A is about to spill the beans to character B, we can end the chapter.)

What are your thoughts readers? Writers? Have you ever came across a scene that you wish would just end? Writers, ever wanted to expand upon a scene but too nervous to do so?

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