Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Story Conversation and Scene Help

Recently someone asked me if I had any suggestions on how to make a scene flow better and how to tell if they got their points across. The scene they were asking about had character conversation in it and was the last chapter of their story.

This can be a tricky, especially with endings or wrap ups in which you strip your characters bare. This advice can be used for any scene in any storyline and can be particularly helpful when you are unsure if you've wrapped up or started any drama in a clear manner.

My suggestion to them was to think about what they want to portray in the scene. What emotions did they want to have their characters feel or cause in each other and write it out. Usually in the big finally where everyone brings everything out in the open and the characters emotions are laid bare, you generally want your characters emotionally raked over coals before coming out better for it on the other end.

Think back to your favorite books. What do the characters feel in that last breath before the end? Dispare, pain, anger, depression? Are they afraid? Do they feel that they could lose everything they've spent the last some odd chapters working towards?

Write the above items down on a piece of paper and if you are trying to get a specific point across in the scene, add that to the list as well. Then, and here is the important part, show the list o a trusted adviser, email them to your critique partners or show it to a random stranger. After that, and I suggest this especially for the characters conversational portion of the story, read it aloud to your friend and that stranger or email it out to your critique partner/s, and have them cross off what points you hit on and which points you didn't. If they're nice, they'll also state where they were having issues following along or will provide suggestions to help it flow better.

The verbal renditioning of your story can also help with sentence flow (character conversations in stories should sound/read like an actual conversation) and will also display how well you are able to convey your points across in the scene.

I hope this helps in your writing endeavor!

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