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  1. #21
    Patrick F

    Re: Thanks for the epiphany

    I think the "movie screen" analogy is close, but not exactly right. I tend to think visually and writing fills in the blanks and makes a single image into multiple frames. I wouldn't say that writing is like staring at a big screen in your head, but rather, the writer becomes the camera. But a word camera that records events etc. - rather than a picture camera.

  2. #22
    Charles Spagnoli

    Re: Thanks for the epiphany

    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).
    Let me qualify what I'm about to say by noting that I have absolutely no authority or credentials to back this up; it's solely my opinion and could well be incorrect.

    That being said, Ray, I'd suggest that you have identified a real issue with your writing and you're moving in the right direction to correct it, but I'm going to respectfully disagree with the precise approach you've selected. I don't think you should place yourself primarily in the mind of your character; I think you should place yourself in the mind of your READER. In real life we are subjected to any number of impressions or sensations that are irrelevant to narrative, atmosphere, or symbolism, and the mere fact that they are felt does not justify their inclusion in a story about the same occurrences. Instead, whether to include such details should depend on whether they serve the story - that is, whether they keep the reader in the trance of imagining your narrative. Review what you've written and ask yourself, where am I (as the reader) lost? What am I missing? Does the impression of place, time, atmosphere come through, or is something more needed? Do I most desperately crave a better idea of the location of this action? Or has the description so far been bloodless, so that I have an idea of the visual scene but no feel for the sights or sounds or smells of this place? Have the characters moved from one location to another, but the transition was so minor that it escaped my notice, promoting confusion?

    Does this "library" with "shelves burdened with books" sufficiently convey the feel of an eighteenth-century room, or do I need to throw in some "gaslights sputtering their haggard glow upon the walls" and maybe "the musty smell of forgotten lace"? Does my character "falling from his window into empty space" sufficiently convey the vertiginous descent of defenestration, or should I add "wind rushing past him, fleeing the surge of the pavement"? Is it enough to say a man "smashed his fist into Mike's temple," or to convey the physicality of the moment should Mike's mouth be "filled with the metallic taste of pain and fear"?

    Just my two cents.

  3. #23
    Mya Bell

    Re: Thanks for the epiphany

    I'd value that at more than two cents.

    --- Mya Bell

  4. #24
    Anthony Ravenscroft

    well, then

    Charles, that was pretty darned spiffy -- I hope everyone gives it some serious reflection!

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