Slow Down!

In my mind I hear two of my MFA teachers say, “Develop.  Don’t rush ahead.  The passage is too short.” 

“Don’t swim toward the white space,” one teacher said, by which he meant don’t try to end the section or chapter (the white space that separates one from the next) simply because you’re eager to quit for the day.  I knew, today, that I was quitting too soon.  At the very least I needed another few lines, and probably more. 

Sometimes it is just a matter of a line or two rather than a paragraph or a page or ten pages.  But of course it has to be the right line. 

Once the language sounds good to me, I’m too willing to retire.  But my reader wants to know more about the character than I’ve given out.  More about the relationship.  Wants to hear more conversation.  Feel more forward momentum. 

Slow down.  Take your time.  Develop.  In my inner ear, writers and writing teachers are still saying it.

Holland House Books

Literary Fiction

Marlene Lee

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