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Monday, April 14, 2008

More on texture...

Last week I shared about texture...here are what some other great writers had to say on the subject...

When I think of texture, I think of adding richness and beauty to the writing. I try to do this by using the five sense more in my writing. One of the things I look for when I revise is checking each scene to be sure I have used at least three of the five. Texture also brings to mind layering the characters and the plot. That means my characters need to be multidimensional not flat. I need to understand their back story and deeper motivations not just what shows up on the surface. I can also layer the plot with subplots, unexpected twists, symbolism, a unique setting and descriptions.
Carrie Turansky


I'll take a stab at this one: The five senses are one of the best ways I know of to add texture to a novel. What did the point-of-view character see, taste, touch, smell, feel and perceive. I like to do one read-through of my manuscript that is specifically to layer in sensations I may have missed in the earlier drafts when I was concentrating more on plot and characterization. Of course, it's easy to go overboard and use too many sensory details. It's like a stew--you need just the right mix of spices, but too much might overpower the flavor of the meat.
The other thing that I think can add texture, is sub-text or undercurrents. What the character says may not be what he/she means. A strong visual metaphor left unexplained by the author (or the character) can be very powerful.

Deborah Raney


As I understand the term, a novel with lots of texture has many events and plot threads that are “woven together” successfully like the threads of a complex Oriental rug. Simply put, the various elements all play a role in the story and characterization — none seem added on. One classic example of a novel with texture is Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice. Consider how much happens — which is why it takes a “miniseries” rather than a two-hour movie to “show” the full story.

I’m not sure if texture is a good thing or bad thing in a contemporary novel. Lots of texture demands work by the reader; anyone who merely scans the pages will miss the big-picture pattern.

Ron Benrey


I have no idea what texture means to editors or others but to me, it means layering. Creating deeper characterization, deeper emotion, and plot lines that build one conflict or point on another. In my mind, it even ties with pacing because we want texture to be felt, so we can feel the weave and enjoy the tapestry of the story because we can sense where the threads are knotted together and where they overlap, yet they aren't snagged but form a clear and beautiful picture.

Just one opinion.

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1 comment:

Becoming Me said...

Great feed back. I really like Gail's insights about layering.