I've got several awesome beta readers dutifully plugging away at Devolutionaries. I've even gotten feedback from a few already. And it's amazing to me how incredibly helpful it is to have readers who have never seen the story give their thoughts.
Two of those awesome readers (hi Hannah! Hi Teralyn!) mentioned something that got me thinking quite a bit. They said to take some more time on certain moments. Let the character experience that twist, feel the emotion-- because the reader will too. I thought back to a blog post I read ages ago (I wish I could find it again!) about letting moments linger.
There are certain points in your story that need to linger so the reader can feel their full power. Moments of great change or emotional impact. If those moments are passed by too quickly, they lose their impact.
Movies often do this by slowing the cinematography-- literally letting a moment linger by putting it in slow motion, or just letting the camera linger. Like in the newest Pride and Prejudice, when Darcy is striding across the misty field toward Elizabeth. The camera focuses on him for longer than a normal shot, allowing the audience to take in this moment where he's coming back to Elizabeth. It is thoroughly swoon-worthy (I'm getting fluttery just thinking about Matthew McFadyen in the mist with that billowing coat and open shirt). And the swoon is stronger because the camera lingered, letting the audience soak in that moment.
Lingering is useful not just to heighten the impact of a moment, but to deepen your character. Lingering on your characters thoughts, feelings, and reactions shows your reader what kind of person he/she is. It's also a moment for your reader to connect to your character through their own emotional reaction. I like to think of lingering as the action/reaction (or scene/sequel) sequence on a smaller scale.
So I'm putting that on my list of further revisions for Devs: let it linger. And I'm all kinds of excited about the possibilities.
So, my friends, what can you do to let it linger in your stories? What are some of your favorite lingering moments, either of your own or in another book or movie?
P.S. The awesomeness is coming. This Friday. You won't want to miss it.