1. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    Muscling through "middles" without becoming tedious...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Commandante Lemming, Jun 27, 2014.

    Anyone have any tips on writing scenes that you know you need, but that don't come naturally. I'm good at writing major plot points as they come - but I end up with a bunch of unconnected dots. Now I'm trying to go back an forge some of this stuff into a cohesive first four chapters for my critique group's submission deadline, and I'm struggling with the connecting pieces. For instance, I know my two co-protagonists, Nina and Vinya, have to meet each other at the office (they work in neighboring cubicles in a newsroom), but I had no clue how this happens. So right now I'm writing a scene where Vinya gets asked to show "newbie" Nina around the office and that's how they meet - but it feels forced, tedious, and like it slows down my pace. Any advice on handling scenes like this that you have to force?

    Probably doesn't help that the actual brain work I've been doing is on the end of the story - when Nina and Vinya are best friends, roommates, and have already had some life-changing experiences. Boiling them back down to their original, naive (and in Vinya's case, vapid) selves is a bit jarring for me as the writer.
     
  2. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    My view is that if you have to force it, you probably don't need it. Why do they need to meet "onscreen" rather than their relationship already being established? If your character made a phone call to her mother, you wouldn't need to show her birth, right? :)

    Now, maybe there really is a reason ("When Vinya sees Nina she thinks that she's her vampire twin sister come back from the dead, but just that one time, because after that Nina has her hair colored....") but if there isn't, I'd suggest trying to eliminate the scene.
     
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  3. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Returning: If there is a scene that really, really is required to tie something together, my advice would be to give that scene more jobs, so many jobs that when you're done and reading it you say, "Now, what was the original...oh, yeah, it does that, too."

    For example, that's the day that Vinya first hears about the zombifying flesh-eating virus that's going to destroy humanity, and she has a fight with her boss, and the publisher is retiring so she's worried that her boss will have full control-freak rein over the newsroom, and her mother calls to ask why she cancelled the blind date with that nice young man, and by the way, while they're all standing together watching the news story about the zombifying virus, this new kid named Nina chimes up with some remark.
     
  4. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks for the input!

    Yeah I will try to figure out more ways to work it. The background is that the story launches with Nina's coming to her first day of work at WorldWide News Channel - she knows Vinya only because they work together at said news channel, and because they are both new and looking for permanent housing, they decide to pool resources and room together despite their significant personality differences. So by definition Nina has to both meet Vinya "onscreen" and very quickly move on to "let's be roomates". I'm trying to weave in other action like Nina getting verbally abused by her editor's secretary, and the fact that the newsroom is going bonkers because the Pope just died. So maybe I can rethink Nina meeting Vinya in the middle of that chaos.
     
  5. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    My advice is to jot down some important notes about the scene and skip it for now. Come back to it later (maybe when you're working on the next draft). If you really want to, you can force it and write down complete crap for now and then edit it later.

    In the meantime, read, read, and read. Reading may give you some ideas on how to tackle this scene.
     
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  6. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yep; I think that would work much better than a bland "getting to know you" scene. I also don't think that the progression to "let's live together" needs to be onscreen--there's no reason why you can't end with them both openmouthed and dumbfounded at something, and then pick up with them discussing what kind of blinds they want to buy. A whole lot of boring stuff in a story can be filled in by implication rather than by scene.
     
  7. Adenosine Triphosphate
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    Adenosine Triphosphate Old Scratch Contributor

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    Which is a lesson I just learned rather harshly.
     
  8. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    It's a lesson I'm learning myself; especially if the story is revolved around the protagonist getting to know the other person (I can already hear a few people groaning. An entire book with that?!) Sometimes it's best to just skip straight ahead to when their relationship is firmly established and only through their dialogue and actions do the readers pick up on how they feel about each other.

    Good luck! :)
     
  9. Adenosine Triphosphate
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    Adenosine Triphosphate Old Scratch Contributor

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    I made the mistake of trying to describe every little detail of someone's movements and facial expressions. It didn't go well.
     
  10. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    My main problem is that I have my characters talk and talk without bothering to describe where they are, and what they're doing. While funny to imagine they're floating around in a cloudy void, I do have to put them in a setting. :D
     
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  11. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Me too. It's because writing the dialogue is easy for me and the descriptions, not so much. So I'm off on a quest to learn more about writing descriptions.

    I need to get away from the stale fallback words like, incredible & awful, and find more similes and metaphors. Right now I'm perusing web sites with advice on writing description. I'll start a thread if I find anything earthshaking or maybe try to develop a resource since I don't see one.
     

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