What's wrong with a kiss, boy? Hmm? Why not start her off with a nice kiss? You don't have to go leaping straight for the clitoris like a bull at a gate. Give her a kiss, boy.
--from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life

Probably some of the best writing advice I'v ever heard.

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Sure, Jon. Next I guess you'll be bragging about how your book is "bigger" than mine.
What's your title, Jon?
Hah! Very good. Strange, how both of you seem to have the same subject on your minds. On two separate threads.
Good one!
I agree as well, great advice. I think it's exhausting and as a reader I want to be able to take a breath.

In my own writing, an editor told me I had to have a cliff hanger in every chapter, needless to say, that didn't happen. However, I followed the standard advice about grabbing the reader and my body is right there on the first page.

I could have a field day with all those double entendres, Margot. :)
LOL! I'm beginning to enjoy all this dirty talk. And oh, how it improves the other postings. The power of imagery!
The two times I did NaNoWrimo and doing a chapter a day, I ended every chapter with some form of a cliffhanger because I honestly didn't know what I was going to do the next day. :O
This is good advice-- and I'll add that quite a few of the books I've read that jump into nearly-non-stop action have two other problems. One is that the downtime seems forced and fake and way too slow... it's rarely a good balance between the exciting and the in-between. The other problem is that the character development suffers-- I don't care that the character is in peril. Sure, yeah, there's this bit about his wife and kid or her dying mother or something, but it's stock stuff. Nothing to really make me care if they make out of situation alive.

And, in my experience, if you start with some teasing, then vary the pacing between fast and slow parts, then it's a bigger, better climax at the end. More satisfying. And I'll be back for round two...
Good point, Clair. We need to care about the characters in order to be affected by their situations.
It's funny, I just read The Friends of Eddie Coyle and while all the characters are "interesting," it would be a stretch to say that you could care about any of them - it's kind of like watching a car accident in slow motion and you know from the beginning it's not going to end well for many - or any - of them. And it's a fantastic book.

It's a style of writing I really like. It's eavesdropping, listening to the characters tell each other the story, there's no attempt to have you care about the characters, no manipulating your emotions. There's no narrator's voice at all and no inner thoughts of the characters, just dialogue and a small amount of description.

In some ways the whole book is foreplay, there's almost no action the way we're used to - fistfights, arguments, shooting, car chases - none of that. It's all tension.

I'd like to read more books like it.
Actually, I prefer identifying to eaves-dropping. Wasn't it Hemingway who was supposedly the first to record a scene as if by camera and sound equipment? Very much like TV journalism.

Identifying brings the action closer to the observer, makes it part of his own experience.


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