Saturday, December 03, 2005

New Beginnings

I finally allowed myself to see a major fault with my short stories: I start too slowly. I have a very bad habit of setting the scene before I allow anything to happen. Bad, bad, bad. Start in medias res and let the backstory and description fall in as needed. I have known this for years, but couldn't see that I was not doing it.

I blame this on growing up with TV/movies/videos, where, most of the time, location, weather, time, etc. is shown behind the opening credits, so the audience is oriented before the action begins. With written works, that leads to boredom more often than not. Much more often than not.

Another reason is that I am very good at lyrical description and not so much at action and dialogue yet. I see my stories as they unfold instead of hearing them. I know what everything looks like and tastes like, and I convey atmosphere, mood, and setting very nicely. It's the people that give me the most trouble.

Maybe I can introduce a new style -- description-driven fiction. Since there would be no characters or action, the writing would have to tres symbolic and multi-layered. Sounds like a sure bet for a rave from the NYTBR.

Heh. Back to work. I cut the entire first scene from "A Time to Every Purpose" late yesterday. Now I have to go through and incorporate those details that were important into the rest of the story without dropping bricks all over the place.


At 2:02 AM, Blogger Wynn Bexton said...

When I'm writing, I try to see it visually, as if I am watching a movie or play, this helps you keep an eye on your characters moving within the scenery. And you're right, starting in medias res is always a good beginning.

At 6:54 PM, Blogger Melly said...

Good one, Carter :)
I mean, I'm starting from the end and the good review you'd get - that got me going of course... cute.

Interesting how you describe the process as hearing vs. seeing. I never thought of it in this terms. Very interesting and very true.

Now that I think about it, mine is a definite combination of the two, or even more. Sometimes I see things happen from the sidelines. That would include hearing too. Sometimes, though, I see/hear things from my characters' head, perception.

Love how you put it. I'll have to use that, sorry ;)


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