After all the character assessments I've done, I thought I'd assess myself. And I've got a bad case of episoditis.
What is this ailment, you ask?
As I'm concluding my read of Debra Dixon's GMC, I'm just being hit over the head with all sorts of helpful insight for my re-write. Add to that an email that came over the ACFW loop that led me to read this article here by author Suzanne Hartman and I'm really gearing up for the editing that my latest book-in-progress will need.
Dixon asserts that each scene in your book should do ONE of the following:
1) Dramatically illustrate a character's progress toward the goal or provide an experience which changes the character's goals (G)
2) Bring a character into conflict with opposing forces (C)
3) Provide a character with an experience that strengthens his motivation or changes his motivation (M)
(And yes, for all you OCD people out there, I realize that the GMC is out of order above, but that was a direct quotation from her book...so it's canon.)
After reading Suzanne's post on episodic scenes, I realized my diagnosis. But don't despair for me...
There is a cure!
Dixon said a good rule of thumb is to have THREE reasons for any given scene in your book. this means when I go crack open your WIP, eeny-meeny-mieny-mo my way to a scene, it needs to accomplish three things.
But what three things?
Well, as stated before, at least ONE of the reasons should be to further the conflict, illustrate/change a goal, or strengthen/change the motivation. PERIOD.
This is not negotiable. (Not really.)
introduce a suspect
speed the pacing
establish trust between characters
betray trust between characters
So your crit partners should be able to point to the scene and ask, "What's the point of this scene?" If your answer is, "To increase the sexual tension," then that's NOT enough.
(Jeannie = pointing finger at self.)
So, Katie, I give you full rein to do this with absolutely every one of my episodic scenes.
(Jeannie = quivering in her shoes.)
I will cure myself of episoditis with sheer willpower and one great support network. Thanks, y'all.
Q4U: Are there any other sufferers of episoditis out there? Should we start a support group? I know a therapist...