• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies Sometimes I think a meteor could strike the earth and wipe out mankind with the exception of my mother’s Bridge club — Roz, Bea, Bette, Rhoda, and Jackie — five Jewish octogenarians who continue to gather for lunch and Bridge on Mondays as they have for over fifty years. When I set out to learn about the women behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, and most of all the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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You Were Always Waiting For This Moment To Arrive

Spent the last two days going over page proofs with a writer. One of my favorite moments in the publishing process is when you see the manuscript transformed into typeset pages. I’ve always had great respect for book designers and all the decisions that go into making a page.

Today our work centered on space breaks. Her book employs three kinds. The small break that changes the subject within the same time frame. The medium break that generally indicates a jump in time. And the large space within the chapter that signals a new time and place, perhaps a new authorial tone as well.

Toward the end of our session, my client apologized for taking up so much time on space breaks. How dare you, I said, demean the space break. What did a a space break ever do to you? If this were a musical, I would now sing out about the value of space breaks.

Suffice to say, and perhaps I say this coming from a poetry background, space breaks are sacrosanct. They offer a rest, a breather, a game changer, a scene change, a time change, a change in pov, tone, or tense. A space break gives the writer an opportunity to take a left where he might have taken a right, add paprika, turn up the heat, or lower the lights. A poet knows that what comes between stanzas is an essential tool in making a poem kill it. Your space breaks as a prose writer are second only to chapter breaks.

This post sings of the so called blank spaces.  This post also had too much sauvignon blanc at dinner.

6 Responses

  1. It does sing, perhaps the singing and the Sauvignon are related? There was something of a stoush around a couple of years ago about paragraph indentations versus breaks as you have done in your post. No gaps, no rhythm.

  2. Space and placement reminds me of–

    Anecdote of the Jar
    Wallace Stevens

    Like nothing else in Tennessee

  3. I’m such a huge fan of space breaks, and it’s so nice to read a post dedicated to them. For a while I was doubting whether I was using them right, and then I realized that seeing my writing on my word processor is very different from seeing an author use these same techniques in an actual bound book on typeset pages. It always looks better on the other side…

  4. Thank you. Someone needed to say this.

    I take away so much from learning how to write poetry. I may not ever get my poems published, but I don’t think I will ever get my novel published without having written or read poems.

  5. Of the thousands of blog posts on writing that I’ve read, this alone makes me giddy. Thank you.

  6. You rock.

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