Some advice from Chuck Wendig (found via everythingissymbolic):
“A simple formula for writing: take the story from high intensity (action, argument, manifest tension, drama) to low intensity (dialogue, simmering tension, concerted character development). Nothing should be without tension, and conflict should carry throughout. A film like Die Hard does this well—period of calm, then period of action. Calm, action, calm, action. You can play with the timing and the length of these sections, too. Requiem for a Dream does slow, fast, slow, fast, too. But as it goes on, the slower periods begin to winnow. The sharp, fast, nasty patches get sharper, faster, nastier.”
This sounds neat, and I want to try it.
“Cut the first chapter of your story. Cut the first paragraph of a chapter. Cut the first sentence of a paragraph. Be on a quest to tighten. Assume your job is to tell as little story as possible to get the point across. How little can you tell, how late can you enter, to still ensure that people a) understand what’s going on b) feel something about it c) think about it after they’re done?”
I tend to do this—cut out as much as I can, right from the start—but b) and c) are way trickier than they sound.
“Assure that you have STORY NOODLIN’ TIME. Every day. In the shower. On the lawnmower. While gutting your enemies and tanning their flesh for your leathery manskin bedsheets. Find time every day to just think about the story you’re telling.”
More evidence for the value of daydreaming.