When my husband and I watch medical mystery or detective shows, we quickly pick up on the timing of certain formulaic elements. Usually, the character who is the chief suspect on the detective show 20 minutes in is not the real criminal. The initial diagnosis on the medical show invariably turns out to be wrong, and the patient takes a dramatic turn for the worse about halfway through the episode.
that e-reading bothers me in formats where I have no clue how far in I
am. Without even realizing it, I have learned to apply certain
expectations to the pacing of a story, depending on how many pages there
are left to go. I read widely, and my books aren't quite as predictable
as some TV series, but it's a general rule that a book's most
shattering revelation will not occur 20% of the way through the book. If
something big happens at that point, then I know something even bigger
must happen later on. And if I'm reading in a format where I don't know
how far along I am, I'm not sure whether to invest all my emotional
energy in that scene and then relax, or whether I can expect a build to
an even bigger discovery.
It's interesting how I've absorbed this
sense of pacing without consciously trying. I think that many of the
techniques we use as writers are like that: we don't spell them out or
even realize we know them.
One more note about the YA for NJ benefit auction:
there are still a couple of days left. Arrange the items by price and
take a look at how many books are available for less than $20! Such as
work by Alissa Grosso, Jordan Sonnenblick, Sarah Mlynowski, Josh Berk,
Jon Skovron, Natalie Standiford, Ellen Wittlinger, Jennifer Jabaley,
Natasha Friend, Alyssa Sheinmel, Cecil Castellucci, PG Kain, KM Walton,
Micol Ostow, Natalie Zaman & Charlotte Bennardo, Laurie Faria
Stolarz, Alexa Young, Kimberley Griffiths Little, Michael Northrop, Kate
Messner, David Lubar, Megan Kelley Hall, Swati Avasthi, Eric Luper, and
yours truly, just to name a few.