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  1. #1
    Ray Veen

    Thanks for the epiphany

    Between your responses to my "narrative wasn't engaging" thread and some other threads I've been reading through, I suddenly realized something profound. I'm sure it would be obvious to most of you, but I have never once considered it in any of my work.

    In the throes of writing, while my next sentence is taking shape, I tend to visualize the action like I'm watching it on screen. This nets me sights and sounds and colors, but no sense of immersion in the story.

    Stupid writer.

    Here's the epiphany, and correct me if I'm wrong: I need to put myself in the character's shoes, and 'experience' the action, paying attention to the sensory, thought, and emotional details I would feel in the same situation (like picturing the story from a first person perspective, and then writing it correctly from third-person limited omniscient).

    I'm sure many of you are saying, "Hello? You didn't know this? Maybe you should stick to using your computer for solataire." My only response to your hypethetical rebuke would be a sheepish, "sorry... I missed that day at writer's school."

    Many of you commented on a 'distance' or 'glass panel' between the character and the reader, and now we all know what it is - a TV screen. So, a big thank-you to all the fine folks here on WritersNet. I don't know why you do what you do, but us fledglings are glad for it.

  2. #2
    Patrick Edwards

    Re: Thanks for the epiphany

    Actually, Ray, I just learned something new....

  3. #3
    R. Radish

    Re: Thanks for the epiphany

    In early drafts, it can help to:
    --Carefully control point-of-view
    --Define whether you're writing scene or narrative

    Narrative might be:
    --transitional: leaving a scene, beginning the flow to next scene
    --preparatory: getting ready for the next scene
    --introductory: introducing the scene
    --climactic: peak in the scene
    --summary: summing up at the end of the scene
    --back to transitional

    This simplified approach doesn't ensure that your writing will be "good," but it can provide structure and order, shape and cohesiveness, making revision easier.

    Carefully control POV; and define whether you're writing scene or narrative.

  4. #4
    Mya Bell

    Re: Thanks for the epiphany

    Ray, you've made an excellent point and it probably isn't intuitively obvious to everyone.

    Personally, I'm a movie-holic and visual thinker so I tend to experience my stories as though I'm watching a film. I didn't have your realization right away.

    Now I'll sometimes dress like my characters and go out and try to "be" the character, but I didn't always do that.

    Thanks for starting the thread. It's a good discussion topic.

    --- Mya Bell

  5. #5
    Sail Away

    Re: Thanks for the epiphany

    Now I'll sometimes dress like my characters and go out and try to "be" the character, but I didn't always do that.

    I'm sorry, Mya, but all I can think of is Emma Thompson's character in Stranger than Fiction standing on the edge of her desk imagining what it would be like to jump off a building. Hehehe

    I hope you don't go to that extreme.


  6. #6
    Steven Labri

    Re: Thanks for the epiphany

    "Now I'll sometimes dress like my characters"

    I believe living your character will create your character. My challenge with Mya's statement was my character. While the protagonist is male, his "savior" is a woman. I thought about dressing for the part, but was afraid my wife would come home early.

    Man! Would that be embarrassing or what!

  7. #7
    Ray Veen

    Re: Thanks for the epiphany

    Thanks, Mya, that actually sounds like fun. My writing alternates between sci-fi and fantasy (YA), so there isn't a practical way for me to 'role-play' my characters. You've got me thinking along those lines, though.

    Just for the heck of it, maybe I'll write something more realistic so that I can wear a costume in public. If anybody questions me, I'll just turn my nose up in the air and reply in my most superior tone, "I happen to be a writer doing research for my next novel."

    (and thank-you, Mr. Radish, for your sound advice - I'm glad my thread doesn't feel like a 'put-on')

  8. #8
    Cathy C

    Re: Thanks for the epiphany

    YAY! You got it in one try. Go forth and immerse.

  9. #9
    john palmer

    Re: Thanks for the epiphany

    Well done, RV.

    The ttrouble with the "watching the movie" approach is that you get sight and sound, but no taste, smell or touch.

  10. #10
    gulliver h

    Re: Thanks for the epiphany

    writing is artifice, pure and simple. Writers who sit around saying: I see my characters! They're real people! I hear them talking to me! etc., etc. sound ridiculous. Embarrassing.

    It's all make-believe, call it whatever you like, but that's what it is. And it's a craft, it's not just listening to voices in your head and writing that crap down. It requires a heck of a lot more.

    I'm glad you had an epiphany, but remember...this is hard work always. Good luck.

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