Here is another in my ongoing series of Writing Lessons. I think I will go to 10 and then the series will be complete. Any good lessons you can think of that I should consider for the final 2?
What does a man coming through a door with a gun do for a story?
It causes anticipation. If you are in doubt about the direction of your story it is likely due to you yourself having lost that anticipation of what is going to happen. So, gun or not, door or not, make something that will cause you feel anticipation about the future of the story and you can guarantee your readers will feel it too.
It causes mortal fear. If you are in doubt about issues you are really dealing with in your story add in the fear of death and it will clarify your thinking on your reasons for writing the story. It will also clarify the course of the story for the reader.
It causes anger. Someone is about to violate one of the prime tenets of civilization, respecting other people’s right to their life. What is causing this person to reach that point in life? Or what is causing the person to protect others from that threat?
It causes humor. Nothing is more absurd than seeing a man or woman out of their comfort zone. Put the gun in the hand of a pageant queen or a elitist intellectual who has never seen a gun before and it could get pretty funny.
It obviously doesn’t have to be a man with a gun. But when it doubt, think about what might reignite anticipation, fear, anger or humor in yourself and the reader and you will be well on your way to clarifying your doubting thoughts.
Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman, who last fired a gun while skeet shooting as a teenager.