You’ve heard the expression lady-balls, otherwise known as gonads or ovaries? The rebel in me adores the term.
I bring this up because I own a pair. At least that’s what was said of me when I put up my latest post on Writer Unboxed.
The subject was deconstructing micro-tension, which happens to be Donald Maass’ area of expertise. I suppose that’s akin to going to Albert Einstein’s blog, putting up a rudimentary post on relativity, then asking not to be eviscerated by the scientific community. Contains the potential for blogging suicide, yes?
Ah. But there are good reasons why I wasn’t (overly) concerned:
- I’ve attended several of Don’s workshops and been fortunate enough to share a few meals with him. That exposure’s been enough to convince me that he’s a teacher to the bone, and not the ruler-knuckle-rapping kind, either. If I blew it, I had no doubt he’d gently correct my failings while amplifying the bits which were correct. (If not for my sake, then for the audience’s.) No surprise that prediction turned out to be accurate.
- I’m not sure if people can appreciate the work which goes into keeping an open, online group both educationally oriented and non-punitive, but that credit belongs to Therese Walsh, WU’s co-founder and editor-in-chief. She sets high standards and ensures we all live up to them, asking nothing of us she isn’t prepared to model. Accordingly, I knew I faced a gentle readership.
- Lastly, I chose not to go with the strip club analogy. This wasn’t out of priggishness or fear, mind you. I still think the metaphor works. What is micro-tension if not the slow reveal of answers to the questions we’ve paid good money to lust after? (In the case of naked dancers, the audience is held in a state of suspense, asking questions like: Will the collars and cuffs match? How does she get those tassels to rotate in different directions, anyway?)
In the end, I feared getting sidetracked into a discussion on morality so I chose to go with option two, a deconstruction of one of the tensest “scenes” of my thirteen-year medical practice. Could it teach me how to create a line-by-line suspenseful read in my fiction? I’ll let you judge for yourself. Deconstructing Micro-Tension. Hope you can join us.