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Sunday, February 7, 2010
My Name is Stephanie and I Suffer From...
I suffer from PHGS. This disorder- Post Hunger Games Syndrome- was discovered by Lisa and Laura, who are not only super cool, but apparently have joint psychology degrees as well.
I can count on my fingers how many books I've reread in my life. You want to know why I missed two blog posts last week, something I never do? Because I was editing (yes, that's 8, or 9, or 10) and rereading both The Hunger Games and Catching Fire.
Curse Suzanne Collins for not writing the third one faster. I'm dying over here!
About halfway through The Hunger Games this time it occurred to me to wonder why the heck these books are so good. Then I realized- the action never stops. I love the characters (Katniss, Peeta, and Gale could compete with Scarlett, Rhett, and Ashley for best love triangle ever), but I have a heck of a time putting the book down, even now that I know what's going to happen.
So amidst my frantic page turning, I discovered two things.
1. The books are in present tense. Collins does such a great job making this effortless that I didn't even notice that until I was almost at the end of the first book the second time around. It totally works for her.
2. The chapter endings are all cliff-hangers. I couldn't possibly put the book down at any of the normal spots a reader looks to stop. I had to know what was going to happen next. And who puts a good book down in the middle of a chapter? The dark circles under my eyes can attest to the fact that I don't.
Thanks to Collins, I went back into HATSHEPSUT to check my chapter endings. It's a little hard to have white-knuckle cliffhangers as I'm covering roughly 30 years in the novel and the chapters typically close at the end of a scene before a time jump. However, most of them end leaving something to tantalize the reader. It's not as immediate as The Hunger Games, but it's still there. However, two of my chapters had a great ending point, but I kept rambling for another couple paragraphs.
I deleted those paragraphs.
I've also gone back in and racheted up the drama in a few spots. I used to treat Hatshepsut with kid gloves (because she's like a god), but now I'm not afraid to throw her (or any of the other characters) in front of the bus.
What about you? How do your chapters end? Have you read The Hunger Games? If not, you need to jump on this bandwagon ASAP!