1. lipton_lover
    Offline

    lipton_lover Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2008
    Messages:
    228
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Michigan

    "flow" of a scene

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by lipton_lover, Dec 26, 2008.

    My question involves a technique that I know people use. As writers we have every word we could ask for, all three tenses, and various povs. (1st, 2nd, 3rd) And all of these ideally should be used to determine how the scene flows. Some words can slow things down, others can speed it up.
    So my question is, what's best for a fast scene? What's best for a slow scene? How do you decide what pace you even want?
    Thanks, Nate
     
  2. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,349
    Likes Received:
    2,891
    Location:
    Boston
    What's happening in the story is one thing that determines the pace to use. If there's action going on (someone running away from someone else, a fight scene), then you would want to use words that imply a fast pace. For example, instead of "walk" use "run". Instead of, "He ate", you could say, "He gobbled down his food." One thing you could do is look at a thesaurus. Some of the synonyms have different connotations which might be helpful depending on the situation.

    On the other hand, if someone is walking through the park, then I would say a slower pace is more appropriate. Hope some of this helped.
     
  3. Spearnymph
    Offline

    Spearnymph Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2008
    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Canada
    Well, if I understand you correctly:
    Fast pace - Straightforward words and sentences, more urgency
    Slow pace - Longer and ponderous sentences, more attention to surroundings
    I'm not sure if that's what you're looking for, but that's what I do.
     
  4. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    there's no one formula you can follow... each writer has his/her own way of doing things and of presenting the story to its readers... there's no 'best'... there's only what works for your story and what doesn't... and to make things more interesting, there's more than one way that can work in any instance...

    so, stop looking for a magic bullet formula and just sit down and write!... if you're a discerning reader and a skilled writer, you'll know if what you turn out works or not... and if you're just learning, others will be quick to tell you when it doesn't...

    seasoned writers know that each piece of writing tends to make up its own rules... it will dictate when to go slow and when to speed up, or if to do either, as it unfolds in your mind and flows onto the paper/screen... the key is to let it!
     
  5. lipton_lover
    Offline

    lipton_lover Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2008
    Messages:
    228
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Michigan
    Well when I was giving advice to someone else about it, I was contradicted but didn't pursue the subject. Pretty much I said that shorter, less words in first person present was the best way to make the pace as fast as possible. Whoever it was, (can't remember now) said that wasn't true.
     
  6. architectus
    Offline

    architectus Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Messages:
    1,796
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    Ca
    What I have noticed in novels is faster paced scenes use shorter punchier sentences and stick to mostly action or dialog.

    Slower scene focus more on narration. I'm not so good with slow. The main complaint I get from people is my stories move too fast; although, that complain mainly comes from older people. It seems teens like fast. I also notice YA novels are mostly dialog and action, with little narration and description.
     
  7. tehuti88
    Offline

    tehuti88 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2008
    Messages:
    642
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Michigan
    I realize this isn't helpful in the least, but "flow" is something I don't even think about while writing. It just comes out as it comes out, whether as fast, staccato sentences or longer, meandering ones. I think when one stops to think too much about the flow of a story, they'll work far too hard to capture that flow and the writing will end up nothing but stilted.

    There's nothing wrong with analyzing how things work, but such things can be taken too far. In my experience it's best to write something first, then ask if it's been done "right," rather than to ask how to write something properly before setting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).

    I've done fast scenes with longer sentences and slow scenes with shorter sentences. It happens.
     
  8. March301
    Offline

    March301 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2008
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    I would think if you're writing an action scene you wouldn't want to take lots of time to describe the scenery unless it was relevant to what was going on. You would want to use words that keep the momentum going.

    But I echo everyone's advice just to write it all down first. If I worry too much about the technique behind it during my first draft, I can't write anything. That's what editing is for. :)
     
  9. Chad Sanderson
    Offline

    Chad Sanderson Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2008
    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Statesboro, GA
    I completely agree with mammamai. Any scene, however paced is originally constructed in your head. This mental image is the perfect scene and it will have the perfect flow. By just writing what you feel instead of what other people say, you'll wind up with what is meant to be on paper. If it isn't quality (I don't mean grammar. That can always be fixed.) then that merely means you need to spend some more time learning how to apply your trade.

    *Thumbs up*
     
  10. BillyxRansom
    Offline

    BillyxRansom Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Messages:
    371
    Likes Received:
    1
    I think this accurately describes my problem. I can visualize an entire story, but when it comes to writing it? Nothing. It's a chore trying to come up with the words.
     
  11. Cheeno
    Offline

    Cheeno Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2008
    Messages:
    594
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Ireland
    If you find it a chore, then you mustn't have the passion required to keep you at the page or keyboard. That may sound tough, but the reality dictates that you won't stay with it unless you have it in your heart. Maybe you've just lost a little of your umph? Maybe you need a rest, or, more likely, to get some serious practice in. But that takes perseverance and passion. What brought you to writing in the first place? If you go back and answer that, honestly, you might be able to resolve your problem. Good luck with it anyway.
     
  12. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    sadly, i have to agree with cheeno... along with the lack of passion, if you can't even think of words to bring your ideas to life, you may also lack the basic skills it takes to be a writer...

    in which case, you may want to consider taking a creative writing course...
     
  13. lipton_lover
    Offline

    lipton_lover Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2008
    Messages:
    228
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Michigan
    I can personally recommend creative writing courses in general... I've taken creative writing classes from multiple teachers, and though there were good and bad teachers, I got something even from the worst. And if you get a great teacher, all the better. I think one of the biggest points that all creative writing teachers should stress is a creative environment. I feel more creative and do better as a writer in and out of class, during a semester where I have a creative writing class. It's because during class it's such a creative atmosphere, it's not like a class at all. I'm rambling now, sorry :)
     
  14. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    no need to apologize, your thoughts on the subject are certainly worth sharing...

    hugs, maia
     

Share This Page