Writing tip: NOT jumping the gun

*A shorty.


Patience in writing is also a virtue

When a plot has events in it carefully laid out to happen in a particular order and sequence, I have found myself in the position of having a strong desire to ‘get on with it.’

To locate a piece of action, or a chunk of motivation, or a reward for the reader closer to the front of the story than it was originally planned.

This plays havoc with plots:

‘Grab the girl, already.’

‘Shoot the bastard.’

‘Is she STILL pregnant? Can’t we get that baby born?’

And then I remember process. And laying the foundation. And footwork. And good storytelling: keeping the reader wanting the next piece and in edge-of-the-seat, gripping, unbearable suspense – and I stop worrying so hard.

I worked things out in advance, and not much has changed. This can’t happen until that motivation, and that motivation until this other requirement, and that requirement until this prerequisite…

I worked back from the revelation to the steps necessary for the reader to BELIEVE the event when it happens, and there is a pace and a timing structure in place for a reason, and the reader is just going to have to trust me that I’m moving as fast as I possibly can, not dragging my feet, and getting her to a climax with a sense of satisfaction.

And, knowing that a Book is the first in a trilogy, she isn’t going to get the Happily Ever After (HEA) ending quite yet. But I will strive to have the Happy For Now (HFN) be a reasonable stopping place.

Don’t jump the gun – it leads to motive-less actions and hurried prose.

And Dei ex machina (if I’m doing Latin plurals right).

Enjoy the trip.


*Shorties: A place for the quick thoughts that don’t get a huge blog post.


5 thoughts on “Writing tip: NOT jumping the gun

    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      I wrote most of the current draft, and all of the rough draft before I started posting 16 months ago; all the plotting was done.

      I know where everything is going – but there’s still a temptation to spice things up with something that shouldn’t quite happen yet – so far I’ve managed to find something more interesting in what I have by digging deeper instead of by robbing the bank.

      But it is a tendency I battle – because even I want to get to the end.

      What stops me every time is knowing it will ruin that end.

      I had gotten too isolated after more than a dozen years; I needed to come out of the closet. The last kid was finally in college, and I could afford to make new commitments. I think. So far, so good – except for one place where they were using up the material faster than I could supply it. They’ve kindly taken a break.

      I needed to meet people like you; it’s definitely been worth the exposure – for me. Most people don’t post finished work, and most readers do not like reading it because they’re never sure if it’s going to be finished properly.


  1. J.M. Ney-Grimm

    Made me smile, too.

    I think that being a J (just barely) on the Meyers-Briggs scale gives me that yen to jump for closure while I’m writing a story. So far, my feeling for “rightness” in the story is stronger than my J desire for closure. So I don’t, in fact, jump the gun.

    I must admit that in the first third of a story, I have a whole lot of fun introducing and opening up situations and issues begging for resolution. I’m putting myself in the place of the reader and imagining being teased in this way. 😀


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      A writer has to master the art of different-sized rewards for the reader – and scattering them throughout. Answer one question – leave two more. We are constructing puzzles for others to solve.

      In a Book 1, you are also fighting between resolving things to a decent degree, while leaving plenty of room for more – and then hoping, again, for patience.



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