Thursday, October 18, 2007

Sweepy Thingy

Remember a few days ago when I wrote that middle length blog which said, in a lot of words, almost nothing? Well, this is sort of a lithuanian continuation of that.

"Your setting and beckgrounds veritably suck!"--Practically everyone.

I think a lot about smoothness. I don't know how successful my powers of written smoothness are, but I think about structures which are more smooth than others. A lot of the time, when I stand up from writing, it's because I've got to a somewhat transitional point, and I need to go think about it for a while. Like in this one super-secret story I'm writing in the genre I've never tried before. I've gotten two thirds of the way in, and written a conversation, in which the main character made an important decision. And, at the end of the conversation, the main character must walk away. The way that this away-walking will be depicted will determine a lot of the mood that arises from the important decision that the main character has just made. I can make it sound final and grim, or triumphant and justifyably angry, or obnoxious and a lost cause, depending on the language. In movies, this is the point when there's no more talking for a bit, and just music, and the music dictates how the audience feels. Because I writeth, there's no music to put in.

I'm thinking this way: near the beginning, I described the surroundings. A third of the way in I did again after things changed. So I think I drop out this description of walking away--because all the ways I can think to do it sound lame and unaffecting--and describe the surroundings again. In a big, sweepy, overview way, so it's different than the last one. I've been pushing myself to do this whole surroundings description thingy because I've tended to leave setting out.

Yep. I never thought, before I wrote a lot, that so much technical thinking could go into arranging books. They always read like they'd just been sort of written out pell-nilly. Now I like the technicallity of arrangement.

1 comment:

Debbie said...

I thought you handled setting well in the round story. You don't necessarily want to draw attention to the fact that you are describing setting. "Here's where this is taking place" just isn't as smooth as integrating the descriptions with the action.

You could say something like "The house had a wide front porch, badly in need of repair."

Or you can say "Deidre automatically stepped over the broken board as she crossed the wide front porch."

The second has action and tells us a little about Deidre and the house she's entering. Your Mentore Jenny has a talent for setting. Read some of her stuff. As a matter of fact, the piece she read at American Icon which won Best Tension has some great setting descriptions.