Another great tip!

Matthew Wright

I am a great fan of melodrama, in the right place. Picture the scene: a music-hall stage in which the hero is oblivious to the bad guy sneaking up behind.

The bad guy (inevitably) is mugging through the fourth wall to the audience, and everybody knows the drill:

Audience (to hero): He’s behind you.
Bad guy ducks behind a prop just as hero spins.
Hero: Oh no he isn’t.
Hero spins back, bad guy leaps up again.
Audience: Oh yes he is.
Bad guy ducks, hero spins.
Hero: Oh no he isn’t (etc etc).

See what I mean? Melodrama. And very funny it is too, particularly if the actors get their timing wrong.

The problem for more serious novel writers – or even, really, for comic ones – is that this sort of scene has little to do with the emotional pull of the character arc. It’s artifice; drama constructed…

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