Story Mechanics: Rec Meta 2
In this post of recommendation meta, I'm going to look at story mechanics. For myself as a reader, 'story mechanics' means something mildly different than it might as a writer(1). As a writer, I think of 'story mechanics' as: grammar and spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, paragraph structure, and basic structure of the scene progression. What I mean on that last point is how the tale itself is told - is it a linear telling, where the story starts at the beginning, and progresses to the end? Does it start near the end, jump back to the beginning, and go on through? Does it follow a parallel story construction, with alternating scenes? When I'm writing, those things are important to me as the story foundation - I think of the story like building a house, and those things are all important on a basic, need-to-have level.
But when I'm reading, I'm looking at the end product, and the things I'd think of first while writing are the last things I'm going to see and be hit with. The first things I'm going to see are house's cleanliness, it's furnishings, it's draperies and paint and layout. This is why I'm structuring this series the way I am - I'm trying to show the writer the things the readers notice first. Hence, last time, I spoke about Visual Presentation - This is akin to getting a house-buyer in the door with a clean house that has plenty of light and an inviting atmosphere. As a reader, things that fall under 'Story Mechanics' that I look for are grammar, spelling, punctuation, tense, complete sentences, and the right words vs the almost right words. These are the furnishings and draperies, the floor rugs and lamps - if they're not laid out correctly, organized to help with the flow throughout the story, it's going to read as clunky and inept, if it's readable at all.
Next Up: Story Flow