Rather than watch TV dramas or films as they're transmitted, I record them and watch later in order to skip through the adverts. However, I now find myself skipping through parts of the movie as well. If a really gripping storyline is halted to fit in a car chase or a walk through the woods, I find my thumb hovering over the fast forward button so I can return to the dialogue or see the characters that really interest me.
It's the same with books. The one I'm currently reading is set in two different locations, in two different times, one of which is fascinating and one of which is definitely not. I therefore find myself skipping pages to look for the next "interesting" scene, just as I do with films on TV.
This is a valuable lesson to carry over into my own writing and plotting. Whilst the equivalent car chase scene might feel very exciting to write, is it really adding to the story or can all those action-packed details be cut? And all those descriptions of beautiful scenery as the characters take a walk, can probably go as well. Cutting might seem a terrible waste but, if these scenes are slowing down the story, and readers are skipping over them, there's no point in keeping them.
So, my new year's resolution is to write and revise with my thumb over the fast forward button, making sure that that my story retains pace and that I keep my readers' interest from start to finish.
Happy writing in 2011,