Monday, May 9, 2016

Let's Talk About Tempo

I would love to tell you what the consensus is about tempo among authors. But I have no idea what that consensus is, or whether there even is one. Instead, I will tell you my thoughts.

I once had a friend who was an amazing film editor, and she told me that the difference between a great film and a crappy film was not writing, it was tempo. I always thought the editor's job was to set up the shots in the right order and fix any problems. Well, they do all of that, but their real job is to set the tempo in a film. It seems that narrative is all about timing.

Ever since that friend educated me about this, I have realized that my editing also needs to be about tempo. It is probably hard for people to see, but I see a lot of my writing as composing a musical movement. Its tempo, its crescendo, its diminuendo, are all planned to flow like a musical composition. I do not always achieve this, but I always try.

Many people have described Age of Mystics as fast-paced, but the truth is that it is sometimes fast-paced, some times staccato, sometimes drawn out. I firmly believe that monotony of timing in a narrative comes out sounding wrong, it just doesn't read right. So, I take the comment about it being fast-paced as meaning that I correctly edited the manuscript to keep the reader engaged. That is the purpose of tempo, to get you to engage with the story, and to want to continue that engagement. It goes back to the connection that I have written about in other posts.

I owe you a good story. I have an obligation to provide a story which transports you to another place, another time, or another reality. A monotonous story does not do that...well, that is another form of art anyway. I want you to enjoy the stories I put out there. In order to do that, tempo must be well considered, and well executed. Tell me if you can feel the tempo when you read it.

Age of Mystics
And the Rain Fell

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