Chapter 13: Finding You

…and they find Chilo. Or Chilo finds them, one of the two. Either way, it’s not a good thing. The monster we saw from afar and luckily got around is back — and she’s pissed. Man oh man, do centipedes give me the willies now. And you think the reader’s got it bad, witnessing all the horrible things the beast does… you should’ve been in my shoes a year ago, when I was putting my poor characters through the wringer while I tried to decide exactly what horror the Chilo was going to rain down on them.

This was a tough chapter because of the swift action I wanted to portray in the chase. I’m generally over-detailed in describing people’s action, so trimming down the adjectives (and fluff) is something I have to work at. A good way of breaking it down, as described to me by one of my blessed editors:

The time it takes to read the action should be comparable to how long it takes for a character to act out that action.

In other words, if you’ve got some wham-bam-punch-pow crazy fast action, then don’t make that exchange four pages long. If it’s a long and drawn out scene — like a battle or a train of thought during travel, it’s okay to let it feel a little long.

Now, that’s not by any means an iron-clad kind of rule, but it helps me determine how something reads… and it helps me keep it shorter than my natural instincts would encourage. For the record, nothing should ever “feel” long, not really… but a story should have contrast in it’s timing, at least in my opinion. Just as there are spikes in your drama, humor, emotion, etc, there should also be contrast to how fast and slow your story progresses — as long as it is moving forward.