Posts Tagged ‘blockbuster’

Notes from Writing the Blockbuster Novel by Albert Zuckerman.

Two Techniques:

1) Begin with a sudden shock out of the blue almost, that profoundly one or more of the characters. Question becomes how did / could this thing have happened? Then back track in time and follow this initial but short-lived shocj with the fearsome scene whose outcome we already know. Therefore we’ll nonetheless read toward it with excitement and dread much as we become drawn into mounting horror of preordained Greek Tragedy.

2) Traditional. Introduce the issue / question early un scene through interior monologue, dialogue, author narration. But still generate a solidly suspenseful effect. See the Godfather. Altering chronology is a way to quickly move story forward with big, highly dramatic scenes while preparing for them with maximum economy and effectiveness.

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Notes from Writing the Blockbuster Novel by Albert Zuckerman.

Planting Questions:
Setting up a scene to be suspenseful doesn’t always require violent climax. Plant of question – eg. ‘forgive me father for I have sinned’ – Who has? What sin? And play on this to give time to build up character etc. In Garden of Lies this happens and climax of the question is that she has fornicated. That itself is another question. Implanting new questions means you can again temporarily change direction and backstory etc — a cliffhanger at the chapter’s end. (‘please Bri don’t ever leave me’ – will he / won’t he is the main question of the novel). After setup for later meeting by her looking at earring she was given as a child.

Notes from Writing the Blockbuster Novel by Albert Zuckerman.

Building anticipation:
The question of Roses sin provides SUSPENSE SPINE of 30 page chapter. Structuring of build up to anticipation etc mostly goes unnoticed by averaged reader who experiences the ground flow of characters and episodes as having the natural inevitability of the flow of a mighty river. Repeatedly accentuate your main theme and heighten suspense and increase anticipation for scenes yet to come. Make the readers intensely curious. In a scene – text of 1st / 2nd page should raise a question that sets up suspense that’s then dealt with or resolved in scene’s climax.

Notes from Writing the Blockbuster Novel by Albert Zuckerman.

Big Scenes:
In blockbuster important scenes aren’t just prepared for and set up, they are also built to be big in themselves, built to excite and move the reader a lot. In novels discussed they all have 10-20 individual chapters / episodes which profoundly affect the lives and destinies of the major characters. Readers participate vicariously in murders, attempted murders, rapes, deaths from natural causes, marriage proposals, declarations of love, betrayals, seductions, last-ditch rescues, births, abortions – all weighty acts. But just depicting them in themselves is not enough to give us a big scene. To generate power that makes it big scene, the scene often contains a startling surprise, is built around a powerful conflict, substantially alters the situation, plans, hopes, dreams of more than one of the major characters and extends over a goodly number of pages. More often than not, too, its core action stems from one or both characters desperately wanting something from the other. Of these elements the most crucial is maintaining intense action and or high emotion within the scene for a sustained period. Such a scene keeps extending the physical action and or emotion of a character on rise and fall and rise again to higher peaks. Tension and excitement grow, become almost unbearable, and what happens in the scene impacts more and more forcefully on the reader.

Notes from Writing the Blockbuster Novel by Albert Zuckerman.

The Obligatory Scene:
This is the scene that must happen or be made. It is the coming together near or at the end of the work, of the two main opposing characters or forces who in a scene of great power resolve the issue between them. Much of plot has been built around this issue and its outcome becomes more and more crucial to these characters as the novel approaches its conclusion.

NB. Heighten drama and use devices. Eg. Character being eavesdropped upon and then eavesdropping on others – to make possible a big scene’s surprises and shocks, which then affect the4 characters deeply and impel them to do things, make decisions which otherwise would be difficult to motivate. And when these devices are set up to seem ‘natural’ the reader experiences the electrification in the story and almost never perceives the device.