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  1. ashurbanipal

    ashurbanipal Member

    Jun 20, 2016
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    Descriptive passages / Narrative passages

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by ashurbanipal, Dec 7, 2016.


    I was wondering how people deal with descriptive/narrative passages in their writing. I have found I prefer writing dialogue by far, but this ends up making my writing sound half like a play, or that too much happens too quickly. I have trouble inserting appropriate narrative into the right places to 'break up' the text so it feels and reads as well balanced.

    Narrative passages tend to be used for some main purposes: To set the scene (physical location, weather, atmosphere), to describe appearance, to give back story or relevant information, to let us hear a character's thoughts. But the dilemma is, use them too much and readers might get bored, use them too little and the thing sounds choppy.

    My main problem is, I tend to make these sections too short, and when I add more, it sounds 'over written'. I don't like to write more than a few lines for location setting (unless it's a particularly dramatic scene which needs it). For example, I have a scene where one character is arguing with two visitors. Another is listening outside to what's going on, and then steps in. During the scene there is naturally a lot of dialogue, but as they are just stood in a room or listening outside, I don't know how to break it up a bit so it's not a whole scene of dialogue. A description of the rather mundane room risks breaking the high tension atmosphere and I don't feel going too much into internal monologue would be useful here.

    Any ideas/comments/thoughts about how you go about descriptive/narrative sections are welcome!
  2. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

    Jul 7, 2016
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    Have you tried writing in first person? If drawing out voice from characters is something you're good at, then maybe a voice-driven story is the way for you to go. This way your character gets to tell the whole story. I know it's not the same as dialog, and I'm sure you will still have sections of dialog, but it may help you with narrating the rest of the story. Yes, there are dialog heavy stories, but a story usually goes beyond just the dialog. Writing in first person may help you get used to those other parts while still having the character tell the story in his/her own words. Just an idea. Good luck.
  3. EnginEsq

    EnginEsq Member

    Oct 29, 2016
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    RE: your people in a room. The room sounds irrelevant. What the people do in the room, on the other hand, can reveal their emotions as they talk. Is someone impatient? Then they look at a clock in the room. Is someone bored? They look out a window. Are they angry? They pound the table. Use these kinds of actions to show the readers (as opposed to telling them) what the people feel. Details of the room (which, being the author, you can add as you need them) may get revealed as you do.

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