Saturday, 12 May 2007

Line Breaks

I've just transformed my opening chapter by adding line breaks!
We use line breaks to indicate the passing of time or a change in place or character.
By transforming new paragraphs using line breaks, I appear to have emphasised mini cliffhangers.

Here are some examples:

Blinky turned, crashing a retreat back towards the valley, but soon there would be nowhere to run.
'Head left, up to the ridge, out of the forest!' yelled Penpa ...

The action is remorseless and the reader is swept along with the narrative. But see what happens when I add the line break, thereby indicating the passing of time and exaggerating the suspense:

Blinky turned, crashing a retreat back towards the valley, but soon there would be nowhere to run.

'Head left, up to the ridge, out of the forest!' yelled Penpa ...

Works a treat!
Here's a second instance:

She swung herself onto Blinky's back and clung to the thick fur at his neck as he sprang through the trees.
Branches lashed at her, wind snagging her hair, galloping in her lungs ...

Becomes:

She swung herself onto Blinky's back and clung to the thick fur at his neck as he sprang through the trees.

Branches lashed at her, wind snagging her hair, galloping in her lungs ...

An imaginary amount of time passes and a locational transition has occurred, creating a sense that suspense is distended. It's like taking a huge breath before plunging into the sea. Line breaks create in the reader that sense of 'Here we go ...' That very sense alone is extremely powerful.
I've done this four times and the difference made by this simple inference of convention is staggering!

1 comment:

Trava said...

Good for people to know.