1. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Asking a Little Help From My Friends

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by GingerCoffee, Apr 30, 2014.

    I'm stuck on a scene. My protag watches something akin to future TV. She sees something she knows isn't true and she has evidence proving it. My dilemma is, how do you portray an in depth hourish long program without showing the whole hour's worth of the program?

    The thing she sees and has evidence is false is the easy part. Summarizing an hour long TV program, not so easy.

    Help, please, thank you. :)
     
  2. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Why is she watching this programme? Is it because she idly turned the TV on while eating her dinner? Is it a programme she regularly watches? Does she expect to see this untrue thing, or does it come as a horrible surprise? Or even a pleasant one, if it gives her ammunition for a fight she's been waging?

    I don't know that you necessarily need to condense the whole programme. I suspect it might be better tactics to depict why she's watching and her emotions as she reacts to the programme. However, it's difficult to say for sure, without knowing the context.
     
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  3. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Like it or not, you're gonna have to show people the scene.
     
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  4. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Summarize the relevant bits that catch the character's eye? Is it necessary for the reader to know the program lasts for an hour? It's difficult to give an example as I have no idea what these things she knows are untrue are, but as a silly example:

    "With each passing minute, the truth became clearer and clearer. The government was bullshitting the citizens -- big style. The famine was under control in East River. The demonstrations down in Greenhill were peaceful. The shootings and lootings in Happy Hollow were largely exaggerated. Yeah right, in somebody else's reality maybe, but Mary knew better..."

    Just stuff it into one paragraph?
     
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  5. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    Make the show background and have the pertinent part grab her attention. For example, she comes home from work and out of habit flicks on the (future)TV for background noise while she changes. Make it something familiar like the news or a nature show so you don't have to describe what's actually on the TV; every reader can imagine their own news in the background.

    She then hears the news anchor or narrator, "Pixie, the jumping elephant, had to be put down this afternoon after breaking her elbow."

    Perplexed by the announcement, Marsha Jancindy grabbed the future remote and turned up the future television. Earlier that day she had read on her future writing forum that one, elephants can't jump and two, elephants have four knees.

    "....earlier today after having been reported to leap over the barricade, the three ton pachyderm came crashing down on the interstate...."

    Marsha Jancindy ran over to her future computer knowing she could debunk this story and find out the truth behind what really happened to Pixie.
     
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  6. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    This was my question as well. If it isn't, then I think @Garball has the right idea. If it were a film, the tv would be on in the background, little more than murmuring to the viewer. Only the key piece of information would be clearly audible.
     
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  7. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Thanks.

    Actually she watches programs much of the day while the people who are helping her take their college finals. I said an hour only as an arbitrary quantity to illustrate the issue.

    I'm using the scene to reveal a significant piece of backstory and to set up part of the story to come when the protagonist's boyfriend and her rescuer go on a quest to retrieve a reader (kindle-like device) with an alternate history recorded.

    The alternate history the protag sees is a surprise, more as something curious than something shocking. So many things in the place she is in are discrepant, she doesn't notice the significance of it at the time.
     
  8. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I like these examples. They give me some ideas I can work with. Thanks.
     
  9. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I think you might have left something out of your first sentence ...while the people who are helping her take their college finals...? Whose finals, and who is taking them?

    I take it from the rest of what you wrote, and if the protagonist needs 'rescuing' she must be living or being held somewhere that blocks out the real world in some way? So she's been fed a history that isn't real? And have the boyfriend and rescuer also been living in the same environment, or do they come from outside it?

    Is the TV programme she's watching set up for educational purposes or just for entertainment? And if there's something in the programme that gives the game away, why is she allowed to watch it? I think I still need a bit more detail as to what is happening, before I can mull over the issue of how to portray the programme in your story.
     
  10. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    She's been rescued from a bad situation by a couple people who are college students. The guy has to take his finals before he can take her home which is several days journey. It's a plot device for why he can't take her home right away.

    Hmmmm, I've been keeping the story close to the vest except with my son and the critique group so I'm not sure how detailed to get here. What to believe is a key element, but it's true for everyone, not just her. It's the normal world for the rescuer, the boyfriend is back home in the world the protag comes from and it's completely different there, but even there, people believe different things just on a different level.

    There's no sinister plot to the deception, it's complicated. Think of it like all the fake things one is presented with via advertising. We just take it for granted, but it might be disconcerting for someone who had never been exposed to such outright dishonesty.
     
  11. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Is there anywhere outside your settings where the Truth is known? In other words, is somebody or some organisation pulling the strings, or has this just developed over time?
     
  12. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Answered in a PM. :)
     
  13. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I await the PM, but just thought ...I'm getting interested in your story, aren't I? I just wanna know what happens. I don't really need the answer to my last question in order to get on with the response to your original query... :) Do I?
     
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  14. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I like the idea my story intrigues you. :D
     
  15. JayG
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    JayG Banned Contributor

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    Why show any of it? the vast majority of what's said is irrelevant. So open with the critical quote, the one that crystalized her decision to do more than shake her head. Or perhaps you might provide something like:

    Stella turned away from the TV, fuming.

    That son of a bitch! How can he claim ______ (fill in the blank)? That's just wrong.


    One sentence and the reader knows what it is, her mood, and why she feels that way. And you do it via emotional reaction that now has the reader want to learn more about the situation.

    If you simply report the TV there's nothing meaningful happening in the room where the character is and we're not in her POV. Instead we have a talking head, which is literally the kiss of death, so far as hooking and keeping your reader. Remember, we're not giving them the film version, or real life. We're giving the essence of life and conversation. As Alfred Hitchcock observed, “Drama is life with the dull bits left out.”
     
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  16. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Thanks for everyone's help. I'm only half way through the scene but hit the word limit for the critique group. I did find a way to insert the false beliefs and know how I'm going to insert more. So far though, I had my character zipping though hundreds of images of things she'd never seen before and the videos are coming up next. :D
     

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