Sometimes writers can lose time in tangents as we sense, despite careful plotting, that not enough is happening, when really what’s wanted is a moment of beauty. Here readers receive a true gift from the narrative: a little time to appreciate all that excellent work in character development.
Think of Tolkein’s Frodo, in the mines of Moria, resting in a moment of relative safety. He has a chance to look around him at this terrible, beautiful world, and we’re privileged to hear him talk with Gandolf as in the old times back in the Shire. Character development here is superbly satisfying, as we get a chance to see how the hero has changed since the days he loved to listen to stories, now that he’s in one. And, at the end of that moment, while we’re deep in the beauty of their interaction, Frodo and Gandalf give us the exchange that will resonate to the end of the tale. “What a pity that Bilbo did not stab that vile creature, when he had a chance!’“Pity? It was Pity that stayed his hand. Pity, and Mercy: not to strike without need.”
The beauty of such a moment, contrasted with the struggle ahead, achieves a double poignancy. First, we may wish we could stay here forever, and our sympathy and fear for the hero grow stronger because we’ve shared this very private wish for peace with him. Then, as he rises to take on the dangers ahead, we are even more on the hero’s side.
So it is that putting in moments of beauty makes readers smile, as well as cutting revision time for the writer who’s working on great pacing.
I hope you’ll have another brilliant writing day. Cheers. Mel
This week from @yourwritingmuse: You keep track of the way each turning point affects the subplots. Clever work. From your Writing Muse