1. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    Scene visualization

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by doggiedude, Mar 22, 2016.

    I've been spending time going back through my WIP trying to add more scene descriptions. I've always been more interested in dialogue and what is happening in a scene. However, I've been told by a few people that I need to put more description into what a room may look like.
    So I added this to one of my scenes, it's far more than I usually put. (Future/sci-fi genre)

    William was a little disappointed with the room they had been given. It was the usual hospital type room, painted baby blue. He supposed he should have expected this. It’s not like they were going to build a special suite just for Gina. The walls held some monitoring equipment and a few notice boards for the nurses to post patient notes on. The bed was a bit scary from William’s point of view. Lots control panels and a set of stirrups. He shuttered looking at them. He really wished he could go someplace, hand out the traditional oranges and wait for someone to tell him it was over. He vowed to himself that he would stay at the head of the bed. The wall opposite Gina had a vid monitor and some helpful nurse had turned on a program showing the birthing process in full holographic detail with exacting descriptions.William stopped looking after the first thirty seconds. He was sure Gina was laughing to herself over his discomfort.
     
  2. Sundowner
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    Sundowner Member

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    It works, but it's a little condensed. If it's not a terribly short scene, you don't need to detail the entire room all at once. You can describe the immediate things, the walls, the bed's large size, and then describe them further as the scene progresses. That's usually how it goes in real life, no? You notice the walls and vague features of the largest or most attention-grabbing objects, and as you continue to stay in the room, walking around, leaning on things, you begin to notice more, like looking at near-by things that happen to grab your attention. This usually happens over a few minutes, with talking to someone, or even just waiting in a room. But when you're just waiting around, you're still not noticing everything all at once, you're probably thinking to yourself and doing something to preoccupy yourself. This is a lot more natural to describe in a story; no information dumping, and the reader has time to take it in.
     
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  3. Feo Takahari
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    Feo Takahari Active Member

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    My first thought is that it doesn't feel like one paragraph. Here's a quick and dirty hack job:

    My second thought is that it's too many paragraphs of description in quick succession. It feels like when you enter a new room in a text-based adventure game and you use the "look" command on everything in the room to see if anything might be useful. In the current situation, it seems like William's focus would be on Gina and the upcoming birth, noting things in the room as they relate back to that. (This means that the bed is the most important thing and the notice boards on the walls are the least.)
     
  4. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    Thanks for the advice. I'll rework some things.
    I get your point about people not always noticing all these sorts of things all at once but in the previous paragraph it talks about Gina being examined while William is sitting and looking around the room.
     
  5. sahlmi
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    sahlmi Active Member

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    I'm similar and that's how I like to slip in description. That is, I'll give an overview that a person (character) would normally notice. Then add pertinent bits and pieces through dialog beats and actions:

    "blah blah," Joe said. He was getting bored now and focused on the oversized plant in the corner of the room.

    So instead of stopping the story and laundry listing, I intersperse within the action/dialog.
     
  6. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that descriptions work better with some sort of emotional focus. Example:

    William folded his arms tightly across his chest as they entered. He hated hospital rooms, with their combination of claustrophobia and chilly emptiness. This one had sage green linoleum and baby-blue walls, determinedly clean and aggressively ugly. The bed was hemmed in with rails, and stirrups at the foot reached out like robot limbs. Computer screens displayed incomprehensible words. And the beeping; it was silent now but he knew that the equipment was just waiting to start beeping. The whole room felt menacing, like the chamber that a person might be taken to after being abducted by aliens. It was as far from a place of healing as he could imagine.
     
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  7. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    I did some reworking of the scene. Thanx all for the input. The entire scene doesn't last long, I don't take the reader through the whole delivery so I don't have a whole lot to drag the description out through.
    Here's my latest reworking.


    It only took a couple of minutes before Gina’s doctor and two nurses joined them in the room. They began examining her. William started getting cerebrocom calls and noticed his normal early morning reports were starting to show up on his AI-com. He wasn’t paying much attention to the reports but he found going through his normal routine soothing to him. After going through a few he gave up, he couldn’t focus. He folded his arms across his chest and looked around the room.

    William was a little disappointed with the room they had been given. It was the usual hospital type room, painted an ugly baby blue with yellow ducks stenciled in various locations. He supposed he should have expected this. It’s not like they were going to build a special suite just for the First Lady. The walls held some monitoring equipment and a few notice boards for the nurses to post patient notes on. The bed was a bit scary from William’s point of view. Lots control panels and a set of stirrups looking like robotic arms. He shuttered looking at Gina in them as the doctor was examining her. He really wished he could go someplace, hand out the traditional oranges and wait for someone to tell him it was over. He vowed to himself that he would stay at the head of the bed.

    He felt Gina squeezing his hand while the doctor went about his work. She let out a few muffled cries of pain and William glanced away. The wall opposite Gina had a vid monitor and some helpful nurse had turned on a program showing the birthing process in full holographic detail with exacting descriptions.William stopped looking after the first thirty seconds. When he looked back at Gina he saw the expression on her face. She was laughing to herself at his obvious discomfort.

    With the preliminary examination done, the doctor had the monitors beeping away their ominous tune. The doctor declared Gina to be officially in labor, switched on the room’s sterilizing field and before he left asked William to change into a gown. Letting the field do its job, William changed out of his clothing and into the gown.
     
  8. sahlmi
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    sahlmi Active Member

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    Better than version #1, but what struck me right off was:



    I feel that should have been left for us to assume (which you mostly did, but you put the punchline before the joke, so to speak).

    and

    Of course it was.
     

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