On several occasions I’ve mentioned good stuff Lucy Brazier does in her PorterGirl books. Subplots. Settings and descriptions. Character development (or was it being a character?). Writerly things like that.
Another great tactic I see Lucy employee occasionally is interruption.
Why is that important?
Glad you asked.
I mean, if it was obvious, I wouldn’t have to explain it, right?
If you’ll open your Vanishing Lord textbooks…
On page 166, it is the second time PorterGirl has sat down with Head Porter to discuss something that is on both of their minds but neither one actually discusses. And both times Head Porter expresses concern that Lucy might be in danger. He wants her to be careful, and she feels he is sincere in his tone.
And both times she is about to either spill her guts or bridge the gap, they get interrupted.
Now, it’s happened two significant times and to do it a bunch more times would be overdoing it, but to get to the point of tension where the reader wants both sides to say what they know, it’s like an itch they’re dying to scratch – and then to have it postponed, that just raises the tension through the roof!
It’s a brilliant tactic and Lucy has deployed it brilliantly both times.
I mention this because far too often I see new writers have their characters sit down in the dining room with urgent news they have to relate to each other, and they blurt it out and there’s no problems at all; all the information gets conveyed effortlessly.
It’s much more intriguing to tease and hem and haw (writer to reader, that is), and get to the verge of almost saying it – and then have it stopped because of some ridiculous interruption or other.
It’s kind of that roller coaster ride readers just love.
And Lucy has done it brilliantly in her book PorterGirl: The Vanishing Lord.
By the way, Lucy usually finds out I’m posting stuff about her when you do. She has no advance warning and she’s not paying me or or anything.