1. Godiva
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    Godiva Member

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    Fleshing out prose

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Godiva, Jan 10, 2011.

    I am currently half way through a novel and finding that my prose is very weak. Dialog seems to be my strong point, (likely due to a lifetime of replaying conversations in my head the way I wanted them to go. Or it could be just plain insanity. I have random conversations with myself in my head. Sometimes out loud in my car... The men with white jackets should be coming for me any minute.) but descriptions, thoughts are almost non existent.

    I see the scenes clearly in my mind, but there seems to be a block between what I see and what I can translate onto paper. It's killing me. Occasionally I get a few good words of my own in, but they're few and far between. Help please!
     
  2. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    First of all, finish writing the novel.

    Tweaking and revising while you write -- unless it's one small thing, or grammar errors -- will hold you back from moving forward because you'll get tied up trying to fix and improve and you'll end up stuck in the past.

    Finish first.

    Then, go back and rewrite/tweak scenes as needed.

    One major way to flesh out a story is by creating suspense and building tone. Use descriptions to have this effect; don't go on a long-winded description just for the hell of it.
     
  3. Godiva
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    Godiva Member

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    I'm trying not to go back as much as possible, but I think that my lack of description is limiting the story as I write it. I'm turning everything into dialog as it's easier for me. Right now, it's reading more like a screenplay than a novel. If I can't turn it into dialog, I'm just not moving forward at all.
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Something you could do is add an infodump paragraph at the beginning to introduce the scene - later remove it and intersprese it with your dialogue. Do you include information and description with your dialogue ?

    Do you do dialogue beats ? ie Tommy sat down. 'I think you are gorgeous, Delilah.'

    Delilah sat down opposite him crossing her legs elegantly and leaning towards him. 'Now you are getting it.'
     
  5. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Recently started reading "Women in Love" by D.H. Lawrence (You can find it online to read if you want). The reason I mention it is that it's carried mainly by dialogue, with descriptions only coming during natural pauses or when characters are moving from one scene to another. The descriptions are brilliant but simple and to the point. It shows that you don't need ten pages of wordy blabbering to provide texture or mood.
     
  6. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    I like to listen to good prose - for me to hear it, it seems to sink in better than reading it. Some of the old black and white movies start with a voice-over that delivers beautiful prose usually taken from the novel the film is based on. I'm thinking of I Remember Mama, Rebbecca and The Great Gatsby, to name a few that spring to mind.
    Audio books are good for this purpose - there are those that will phoo phooy them, but I think it's worth a try.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    by 'prose' i'm assuming you're both actually referring to 'narrative' since 'prose' includes dialog... am i right?... or wrong?
     
  8. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd say you're right.
     
  9. Godiva
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    Godiva Member

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    You're probably right. I'm still a newbie. It seems like people were able to figure out what I meant.
     
  10. Godiva
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    Godiva Member

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    Thanks, this helps actually. I'll try not to worry about it so much and fill it in later if I need to. I just felt like I was trying to turn everything into dialog to avoid the weakness. Maybe that's just the way I write. I'll definitely check that book out.

    Thanks everyone for the advice.
     

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