Monday, April 22, 2013

S = Scene Writing


As a special treat, here are two articles (instead of one). One on scene transitions and the other on writing dialogue within a scene. Make sure to follow through the link to the whole article and maybe comment saying where you came from on their site? We writers do love comments.

As writers we spend a lot of time talking about plot, character, setting and description. We learn how to put all of those together into scenes and how to show character motivation with sequel. But then when it comes time to stitch it all together we often stutter… uh… okay… and then after that some other stuff happened and now I’m going to tell you about it.
Okay, hopefully, your transitions aren’t that bad, but frequently writers do spend way too much time on the stitches when they should be kept clean and simple.
How to do that?
Click here to read the rest at The How to Write Shop.

A writer friend had feedback which said that her novel suffered from "ping-pong dialogue". Had any of us heard of this particular ailment, she asked here. None of us had, but the example she posted did suffer a bit from something I've seen a lot over the years, and no doubt I've been guilty of too; in fact, I'm rather grateful to have a name for it. It's not that the dialogue in itself is badly written; rather, it's a combination of things. Have a look at this:
"How long can you stay?" he asked.
"My bus doesn't go till six," she said. She slung her jacket over the back of a chair.
"Would you like some coffee?"
"Only if you've got decaff, thanks."
"Yes, I've got some." He put the kettle on to boil.
"You've cut back the hedge," she said.
"It got shredded in that storm. Had to do something," he replied.
"Ah, yes."
Roly began to scratch at the back door and whine.
"I'll just let him out."
"Does he still come upstairs and bark if you stay in the bath too long?"
"No. He only did that to you." The kettle clicked off.
"No milk, please."
"Right you are."
He put the mug on the table.
"Did you get my letter?"
Now, there are various things going on here, all of which could be contributing to the ping-pong effect. First, it's not actually that briskly alternating lines of dialogue are a Bad Thing, but more that there isn't enough else going on. The dialogue has got detached from the other kinds of action in the scene: we've got speech-action, but not much physical action, or mental action and so on. 
Click here to continue reading at This Itch of Writing.

Remember that I'm giving away a copy of Angel Eyes! Click here to enter until the 30th!

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