Welcome to My Shelves Are Full where I am pleased to share my love for the book titled The Island that Didn’t Exist by Joe Wilson. This is a fantastic, dare to dream type of adventure, perfect for those seeking danger, mystery and breaking the rules!
Author Joe Wilson was kind enough to to write a guest post for my blog as part of the tour celebrating this dynamic book!
THE TWELVE PAGE PLUMMET
Attention span, that’s the crucial thing. To repeat, attention span.
I’ve just gone past a dozen words. In broadcast terms that would be roughly four seconds of duration. By now any piece would have had to ‘move’. This is especially pertinent in television. The picture sequence would need to shift, an attention grabbing soundbite could – by now – have been added to the edit and of course there are the words. The script, the bit the reporter writes and reads. It must blend, complement and lift the pictures. Sometimes this is a gift. Often it can make the job harder. It is tricky, for example, to report on a career defining moment of somebody’s life when you don’t have footage of it.
Anyway, attention span!
When I came to write ‘The Island That Didn’t Exist’ I realised at a very early stage that I needed to construct suspense. Books are potentially a wonderful antidote to the pulsating screens of video games and action movies. But young readers need excitement. That’s only right; I think older readers need excitement too.
My mantra became ‘the twelve page plummet’.
My general plan was that each chapter should last about a dozen pages and should conclude with a dramatic lurch in pace and plot. It wasn’t necessary for a character to literally plummet at the climax of the chapter, although I wasn’t against the idea.
Now I come to analyse the book in it’s finished form I realise, firstly, that each chapter is longer than 12 pages. We can put this down to an act of Font. What really matters is whether I achieved the crescendo conclusion each time. Only the reader can decide, of course, but here are some sentences which end the chapters.
‘..you are the legal and rightful owner of that tiny speck of land.’
‘..he’d taken the most monumental decision of his life and he couldn’t look back’
‘..something, or someone, was trying to kill him’
‘..that was all he could think of as everything turned to darkness.’
‘…and who, exactly, was going to come to their rescue?’
‘…just solved the biggest mystery of the century.’
‘He started walking and, in stunned silence, they all followed.’
‘The children were already sprinting for their lives.’
‘The game, Rixon knew, was up.’
Well….I will give you a second to get your breath back.
There are one or two chapter endings I have left out here because they might just reveal a touch too much about the plot. There is one chapter which ends with Rixon, the central character, falling asleep; not thrilling. But, generally, I’m pretty happy with my execution of ‘the twelve page plummet’. Finally, I acknowledge there is another, well established phrase to describe the creation of suspense. In fact, I can reveal that at one stage in the story young Rixon, literally, finds himself hanging from a cliff……
A hugely adventurous book sure to wow readers!