Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Writing and endurance - an analogy #amwriting

I'm reading an ms about a girl with strange abilities and the author mentioned she'd gone back and forth between dumping details about the powers and the current version, which is kind of bare bones when it comes to information.

I think all authors struggle with our beginnings - what is the right starting point, but also, what is too much information vs too little.

An analogy jumped to my mind that I thought I'd share. It might make sense, or it might not!

I'm an endurance rider, typically aspiring to ride 50 miles within 12 hours. At some point, horses figure out this is endurance, not sprints, but when they first get the competition bug, they think it's all about going fast. If I were to let a new horse do what he wants for speed, we'll gallop 15+ mph for 10-15 miles and he'll have nothing left.

I expect this is the same for marathon runners.

On the other end of the spectrum, if I fight my horse and force him to walk, when we've trained at the trot, his mind will just lose it. Either he'll start bucking or just give up and lose all interest in going forward. Kind of like putting down a book that either has no action or is withholding information. Either I'll get hurt or we'll be out on the trail way too long.

Walking a mall slowly kills my back and I just want people to get out of my way!

So, what's the middle ground analogy? This is also something very specific I learned riding endurance. If I keep my horse just under the pace we've trained at and he wants to go, with a few rewards of faster speed on good footing, he'll want to go all day. Cantering across the finish line on a horse that feels like he hasn't worked at all is an amazing feeling.

Just like ripping through a book, enjoying all the highs and lows, explosions and introspections, wanting more - and getting just enough. The reader is rewarded with information, tension, release of tension, and a solid, well-rounded conclusion.

What do you think? Does this analogy work for you, even if you're not into horses? Do you have comparisons in your life that work the same way?

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