Schemes and Scenes – Part Five

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Schemes and Scenes – Part Five

This is the fifth article in an occasional series on scene development.  Self-Editing For Fiction Writers, Chapter Five, focuses on Dialog, with two exercises.  Read the fourth article.

crossed 1Try editing the following exchanges.

A.

Original

“You aren’t seriously thinking about putting that trash in your body, are you?” said a voice from behind me, archly.

I put down the package of Twinkies and turned around.  It was Fred McDermot, a passing acquaintance from work.  “Pardon me,” I said.

Continue reading

Schemes and Scenes – Part Four

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Schemes and Scenes – Part Four

This is the fourth article in an occasional series on scene development.  Self-Editing For Fiction Writers, Chapter Four, focuses on Proportion, with two exercises.  Read the third article.

crossed 1Correct the proportion in the following passages.

A.  Carter

Original

As he approached the last hill, Carter passed two more runners who had started fast but were now spent and fading.  They could not longer keep their arms up; their stride, once crisp high-stepping, was now a tired, struggling, agonized shuffle.  They licked their lips; their head and shoulders drooped and swung desperately from side to side as if that extra motion could somehow coax additional reserve and speed from their aching legs.

Analysis

I can imagine this passage coming at the end of an extended description of the race.  While the original passage captures the immediacy of the moment, it does not capture the tension, the action.  The reader wants to cross the finish line with Carter.  I intend to edit the passage to strike a balance that captures the agony of the finish line. Continue reading

Schemes and Scenes – Part Three

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Schemes and Scenes – Part Three

This is the third article in an occasional series on scene development.  Self-Editing For Fiction Writers, Chapter Three, focuses on points of view, with three exercises.  Read the second article.

crossed 1

Spot the point of view problems

A.  Susan and Ed

Susan heard the key in the lock box and then a second key in the front door. She grabbed Ed by the arm.

“My God, I forgot, it’s the realtors.”

He looked around the living room, at the papers strewn on the couch, the mail piled on the coffee table. He remembered the two days’ worth of dishes in the kitchen sink. “What, you mean today? Now? With people?”

They had no time to lose. “You take the kitchen, I’ll handle here.” Continue reading

Schemes and Scenes – Part Two

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Schemes and Scenes – Part Two

This is the second article in an occasional series on scene development.  Self-Editing For Fiction Writers, Chapter Two, focuses on  characterization and exposition, with two exercises.  Read the first article.

crossed 1First Exercise

How would you develop the following character through a series of scenes?  Keep in mind that the scenes don’t have to be consecutive and that some of the material need not be included at all.

SITUATION:  Maggie had reached the cusp of her childhood, that gray area between girl and woman when she could be neither, or both almost at will.  There had not been (and probably would not be a lonelier time in her life.  She could not longer associate with children, whose interests now bored her  But she wasn’t comfortable with adults, for she still carried the energy of a child and couldn’t slow herself down to the adult’s pace.  And so she found herself trapped between the banal and the dull, trying to shape her life with only the help of her contemporaries, who were as adrift as she was.  Given all this, was it any wonder she sometimes seemed, well, exasperated (and exasperating) to her parents? Continue reading

Schemes and Scenes – Part One

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Schemes and Scenes – Part One

This is the first article in an occasional series on scene development.  Self-Editing For Fiction Writers, Chapter One, focuses on  converting “tell” into “show”, with three exercises.

crossed 1First Exercise

Original

“Mortimer?  Mortimer?  Simon Hedges said.

“Where are you?”

“Look up, you ninny.  I’m on the roof.”

“What in blazes are you doing perched up there?”

Continue reading

Dreams of Schemes and Scenes

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Dreams of Schemes and Scenes

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crossed 1Scenes.

Goals.

Characters.

Dialog.

Action.

Disaster.

The protagonist worse off than before.

Driving the story forward.

Page after page.

Rising tension.

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Cool.

So, how do I write scenes like that?

How do I turn first draft mush in a publisher’s banquet?

Self-Editing For Fiction Writers comes, highly recommended.  The book format is read-a-little, exercise-a-little.  And, I’m very good at reading books.  Enthused, I start out, determined to improve myself.  Then…life happens…my next good idea fires my imagination…and I never finish.  So, I will try to hold myself accountable by posting the exercises.

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Read the first exercise,

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