July 1st, 2015

BrainUnderRepair

Writing Excuses 10.26: Q&A on Scenes and Descriptions

Writing Excuses 10.26: Q&A on Scenes and Descriptions

From http://www.writingexcuses.com/2015/06/28/writing-excuses-10-26-qa-on-scenes-and-description/

Q&A Summary:
Q: I recently got feedback "show, don't tell" from a publisher in regard to describing a character's internal thoughts while moving through a scene. How can I show these sorts of things?
A: Give the character something to do while thinking. Physical reactions, and make sure you have internal thought process, not just a label. Use external observations to show internal state. Cut the navel-gazing.
Q: When introducing a new POV character, how can you describe their appearance through their own POV in a way that doesn't feel forced? (I.e., how do you avoid looking in a mirror?)
A: Use comparisons with other people. Slip them in, instead of infodumping. Focus on the important detail, not overall appearance. Don't overdo the specific description.
Q: Can you explain the difference between scene and setting?
A: Setting is the scenic location, the physical environment. A scene is designed to contain the plot.
Q: How does your environment affect your writing? Could writing in different places change the tone of your scenes?
A: Yes. Sometimes pieces creep into the story. Use music to block.
Q: How do I paint an evocative fantasy landscape quickly as in a short story?
A: The idea that epic fantasy can't be done in a short form is a fallacy. Best is suggestion, the small telling detail that does double duty. Be very specific about the details you do include, and use them more than once. Don't take things for granted, give them context.
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[Brandon] We are out of time. So I am going to give you some homework. What I want you to do, we're going to be moving into talking about the middle of your book next or your story that you're working on. I want you to go and describe to a friend why the middle of your book is going to be awesome. Now, you can't talk very much about the beginning or the ending. This is why the middle... What's going to happen in the middle that's going to make people excited to read your book. Now, we had some homework previously where you were going to identify scenes that were coming up that you were going to be working on. Describe those. Describe those to your friend in a way that's going to make them excited to read your book.
[Howard] If you've done this right, you'll also make yourself excited about writing them. In fact, I'd argue that if that doesn't happen...
[Dan] Then you may need to rethink some things.
[Howard] You may have a problem.
[Brandon] This has been Writing Excuses. You're out of excuses, now go write.
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