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Showing posts from September, 2007

Fiction Tips Via Kovach Via Larson

By Michael Neff

Here is some matter by Ron Kovach of WriterMag that I found helpful for Writer's Edge. He's talking about Erik Larson and making fiction points in the context of Larson's historical bestseller, THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY. A little Q&A worth posting:

You're clearly fond of foreshadowing. How would you describe its storytelling value?

I think foreshadowing is a fundamental element of suspense. I think that if you can somehow hint--and the more obliquely you can hint, the better--that something bad is going to happen, no reader is going to leave you until he or she finds out what that thing was. It's like Chekhov said: If you show a revolver in the first act, you have to shoot it by the last act. People come to a work with a sense of unity in their minds, and if you tell them that something black is going to happen, they want to know what that black thing is and will stay with you to find out--provided it's not too far down the line, and provided…