Follow up on last week’s exercise

If you followed my last blog where I worked through the scenes of an author I loved to locate each element of the scene, you should have a table of 20 or more rows relating to 20 or more paragraphs.

Now for the next exercise.

I took a small scene I wrote and made each paragraph match up with the rows of the table.

My previous example for the first paragraph was:
1 / Weather, building, walls, season, view, time of day / Desc of stage, set, emotion / empty

The second example was:
2 / C1, clothes, jewellery, position, eye colour, action, furniture, speech / Desc of C1, status, shinbangers / Need of C1

I moved the third paragraph to start the scene, showing the weather, set, and action of the scene.

I moved the fourth paragraph to second, showing the dialogue of C1 with a question on problem she faced.

I added a paragraph describing the sidekick’s clothes, props, etc, and dialog.

The rest of the scene I left alone because it mostly matched the table, although I had more paragraphs than the example.

Then I read through it.  Did it improve? Honestly, I don’t think so but I will hold that judgement until my friend returns from holidays to read it and comment.

Did it help me see my glaring errors. Yes. I do not describe the POV character, because other than looking in a mirror, which is not done, there is no way my characters are taking a moment to think of how they look. They, like me, just don’t care how they dress. Note to myself: work on that attitude.

Also, following the adage “only show what is different” limits my description of both humans and aliens. I believe once the human or alien is described I should not repeat it in every scene that follows. Only show what has changed from the previous description.

Try the exercise. See if you improve your scenes and let me know what you found.

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