Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The "Wait a Minute" Moment

Over the years I've read tons of books - literally. Every genre - both F and NF. And while it isn't often, I do occasionally run across books that give me a 'wait a minute' moment (WAMM).

The WAMM comes when you're reading along and suddenly something isn't right. Like a Buick in front of the Colliseum in a gladiator flick. Which is, of course, an anachronism, but while anachronism isn't the only case of WAMM, it is the best example.

Or say you're right in the middle of an intense scene where the killer is stalking the heroine, and all the description at this point shows her inside the house. Then suddenly, the wind is blowing through her hair.

As a writer, I do my damnest to make sure my readers aren't going to get WAMM'd. But that means throwing myself on the grenade for them. I got WAMM'd last night for my readers.

While editing Blink last night, I got WAMM'd not once, but twice. (Thank goodness for editing.) I was reading along and after escaping the bad guys, the heroes show up at the super secret good-guy base of operations (SSGGBOO). Unfortunately, the heroes had never been there before. WAMM. Then as I'm fixing that particular problem, I realize that the heroes' new allies are former bad guys - so why would anyone trust them enough to show them where the SSGGBOO is located? WAMM

I fixed them both by rewriting the entire scene. (No band-aids please. Stuff like this requires surgery.)

The grenade blast wasn't as bad as I thought, and if I've done my job correctly, my readers will never know the horrors of a WAMM that was avoided. =oD

Tell me. Have you ever been WAMM'd?

1 comment:

Alex Adams said...

Yes! In fact I came across one just this week where my main character mentioned something she couldn't possibly have known yet.

A definite author error :D