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  1. #1
    DaBlaRR
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    Description Challenge

    So in my story, there is this one spot that some of my characters commonly meet up at. It is a very relevant place and the setting is quite often in this same place.

    In the beginning, my description of this place was fine and it flowed with the dialogue etc.

    But now I am having a real hard time. There is only so much I can say about this place after they meet there so much. I find that it is becoming dialogue heavy. All I can bring out is certain characters emotions and such, but still every time they meet here it is becoming dialogue heavy.

    Also, when I write dialogue for certain scenes, I always include the characters actions along with there conversations. But even in this case it's hard.

    Just to shed some light on it a bit. The place is what once was a little boys club. There is a tree house a fire pit, and it's in the woods by a creek. There is only so many times I can describe their actions along with their dialogue. All these boys do out there is meet, discuss some important things, drink, do drugs, and sit around the fire.

    So as I said above. All of it now is dialogue and I can't get past how to bring this place to life and be original about it.

    It is my first draft and I plan to go back and really dissect it once I'm done. But I already foresee my challenges with the scenes that are in this reoccurring setting.

    Any advice?



  2. #2
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    Well, without a sample of the writing it's hard to do more than give general answers. But that being said:

    You shouldn't be describing anything. You're neither on the scene nor in the story. So every time you stop the action to talk about what the reader would see were they there, you stop the scene clock and kill all momentum the scene might have developed. Remember, a list of what can be seen doesn'y give the picture, it only lists things, most of which the protagonist is ignoring.

    Remember, you're not explaining the plot to the reader. That's a nonfiction approach and as entertaining as any report or history lesson. And when you do that you're informing instead of entertaining. But your reader is with you to be entertained. More specifically, they want to be made to feel what the characters do, as they do, in real time, not learn that they felt it. In a horror story, for example, readers don't care that the protagonist feels terror. They want you to make them afraid to turn out the lights. They want you to terrorize them. And that takes an entirely different approach, one they never even mentioned in our school days. It takes the specialized knowledge and craft of the professional fiction writer.

    So there's the place to begin. We're all experts, here, but not professionals. Think about it. Which makes more sense? Asking people who are not making their living through either writing or teaching fiction, or asking people who are? And asking those who are is as easy as reading this, or this, as a start. The first will give you a feel for how to liven up those scenes you mentioned. The second will show you how to frame those scenes.

    Chew on them for a bit, especially the first one, which will sharpen your POV skills. When it makes sense look at some modern fiction that made you feel as if you were living the story, and see how the writer used that technique to "reel you in." And if it sounds useful, pick up the book the article's writer based it on. It's filled with the answers to your questions, even the ones you don't know you should be asking.

    “Michaelangelo did not have a college degree, nor did Leonardo da Vinci. Thomas Edison didn't. Neither did Mark Twain (though he was granted honorary degrees in later life.) All of these people were professionals. None of them were experts. Get your education from professionals, and always avoid experts.”
    ~ Holly Lisle

    Hope this helps. Hang in there, and keep on writing.

  3. #3
    Rogue Mutt
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    "You shouldn't be describing anything." Wow, you've really topped yourself there, Greenstein. LOL.

    If you've already described a place I'm not sure why you'd want to redescribe it every time you go back there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Greenstein View Post
    Well, without a sample of the writing it's hard to do more than give general answers. But that being said:

    You shouldn't be describing anything. You're neither on the scene nor in the story. So every time you stop the action to talk about what the reader would see were they there, you stop the scene clock and kill all momentum the scene might have developed. Remember, a list of what can be seen doesn'y give the picture, it only lists things, most of which the protagonist is ignoring.

    Remember, you're not explaining the plot to the reader. That's a nonfiction approach and as entertaining as any report or history lesson. And when you do that you're informing instead of entertaining. But your reader is with you to be entertained. More specifically, they want to be made to feel what the characters do, as they do, in real time, not learn that they felt it. In a horror story, for example, readers don't care that the protagonist feels terror. They want you to make them afraid to turn out the lights. They want you to terrorize them. And that takes an entirely different approach, one they never even mentioned in our school days. It takes the specialized knowledge and craft of the professional fiction writer.

    So there's the place to begin. We're all experts, here, but not professionals. Think about it. Which makes more sense? Asking people who are not making their living through either writing or teaching fiction, or asking people who are? And asking those who are is as easy as reading this, or this, as a start. The first will give you a feel for how to liven up those scenes you mentioned. The second will show you how to frame those scenes.

    Chew on them for a bit, especially the first one, which will sharpen your POV skills. When it makes sense look at some modern fiction that made you feel as if you were living the story, and see how the writer used that technique to "reel you in." And if it sounds useful, pick up the book the article's writer based it on. It's filled with the answers to your questions, even the ones you don't know you should be asking.

    “Michaelangelo did not have a college degree, nor did Leonardo da Vinci. Thomas Edison didn't. Neither did Mark Twain (though he was granted honorary degrees in later life.) All of these people were professionals. None of them were experts. Get your education from professionals, and always avoid experts.”
    ~ Holly Lisle

    Hope this helps. Hang in there, and keep on writing.

  4. #4
    DaBlaRR
    Guest
    Jay thanks for the in depth input. I appreciate it.

    Rogue. That is my problem. I don't want to describe it. But I want conversation to happen there with out it being so dialogue heavy. Cause I got nothing else but dialogue now because the setting is reoccurring.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaBlaRR View Post
    All these boys do out there is meet, discuss some important things, drink, do drugs, and sit around the fire.
    As scenes go, this sounds pretty boring, especially since it's repetitive. That you're reduced to dialog only should tell you to scrub this approach and create new, more vibrant story beats to advance the narrative.

  6. #6
    DaBlaRR
    Guest
    Jayce. That is the general thing they do, not all they do. This spot in the story plays a very important part and a lot more happens there. What you quoted up there does sound boring, it's not all that happens there, I explained it poorly.

  7. #7
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    Mutt, I'd take your crap a lot more seriously if your writing was selling—and if you had the decency to respond to the poster's question.

    You don't have the inclination to help answer the question, but you do hijack any thread I post in, for personal purposes, simply because I don't praise your writing. But who are you hurting by disrespecting other people's threads? Certainly not me.

  8. #8
    Rogue Mutt
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Greenstein View Post
    Mutt, I'd take your crap a lot more seriously if your writing was selling—and if you had the decency to respond to the poster's question.

    You don't have the inclination to help answer the question, but you do hijack any thread I post in, for personal purposes, simply because I don't praise your writing. But who are you hurting by disrespecting other people's threads? Certainly not me.
    Lots of lol in that Jay. I'll reply later when I'm not on my phone.

  9. #9
    Rogue Mutt
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Greenstein View Post
    Mutt, I'd take your crap a lot more seriously if your writing was selling—and if you had the decency to respond to the poster's question.

    You don't have the inclination to help answer the question, but you do hijack any thread I post in, for personal purposes, simply because I don't praise your writing. But who are you hurting by disrespecting other people's threads? Certainly not me.
    OK, now that I'm back home I can unpack all the silliness of this statement.

    1. I answered the question, just far more succinctly and with far less condescension.
    2. Giving bad advice is worse than giving no advice. Saying "You shouldn't be describing anything." is about as terrible advice as you can give. I'd challenge you to find one book that doesn't have description in it. Maybe you think the Writing Fairy magically sprinkles description into books.
    3. My latest book is #45,393 on Amazon. Your best book that isn't free is over #600,000. You have a couple on there that don't even have a sales ranking, despite being posted months ago. I'm not necessarily a fan of Amazon's new method of paying authors by the page read for Kindle Unlimited, but it is kind of neat to see people actually reading your books. I have just about 50,000 pages read this month, something I'm sure you can't say.

    As for the Jay Greenstein Way, here are some of your glowing reviews:
    Jay Greenstein's WIZARDS has enough plot and action to constitute a story; however, the tale is pieced together much like someone might create a painting from a paint-by-number kit. You can "see" the lines between the bits of action, as though the author is writing according to some sort of formula that he keeps repeating. Additionally, the plot is too heavy-handed--like an earlier reviewer noted, I knew the ending long before I got there and had no reason to continue reading. I didn't care abut the characters enough to give a hoot if they lived or died. I sped read and skimmed most of the mid section of the book just to try to finish it. The writing is not poetic at all. The style is wordy, lacks savvy, and reminds me of someone talking into a subway tunnel. The book could use several edits. Even with the fast reading, I noticed many, many grammar and punctuation mistakes. Do not waste your money, or more important, your time, on this book. It's the work of a novice.
    The writing is so simple and not in that minimalism way in which the author/artist uses sparse language as part of a less-is-more, pared down style. WIZARDS is simple and childlike and full of errors and boring characters. I somehow managed to stumble my way to about the third chapter, then I tried to make it through the fourth and began to question why I was torturing myself by trying to finish this book. I flipped through some of the pages to see if it might get more interesting but I simply could not give it my attention. The plot is predictable so there's no motive there to keep reading. The characters are flat and simplistic, and the language is choppy. I'm wondering if the book is misclassified and is a children's book. Even then, I wouldn't recommend it to a child. The writing is too stilted and not entertaining at all. In fact, the opposite, as I felt as if i was punishing myself trying to get through this book and I wouldn't recommend making reading an unpleasant experience for a child.
    The book has plot and action but is not written well. It reminds me of those cheesy paintings of trees and such that used to hang above people's sofas, a painting all right but painted with no flair or craft, just something to hang above the sofa. Likewise, this book is something to place on your book shelf but don't try to read it. And since it's Print on Demand rather than printed by a traditional publisher it won't even look that good on your shelf. It's the work of an amateur, words placed one after the other but no voice and no message given to the reader. I like to learn something about life, myself, or the world around me when I read a book, but all I learned from this book was to choose my readings more selectively. A lesson well taken.
    After struggling with another of Jay Greenstein's books, I thought I'd give his writing another chance. Unfortunately, this book was even worse than the first one I read (WIZARD. )This book is so poorly written, I couldn't get past page three. I struggled to get beyond the basic grammar errors that ranged from comma splices to subject-verb agreement only to find the voice so flat I felt as if I was reading a grocery list in a foreign language. To be fair to the book, I skipped ahead to see if things improved. No, they got worse. While there may be some plot and conflict in the novel, I couldn't get past the horrendously dry writing to find out. I won't be giving Jay Greenstein a third chance. There are too many well written books to waste time trying to plow through bad writing.
    Where to begin? Poorly written. Rubbish plot.
    Stupid "heroine" (and I used the term VERY lightly).
    A huge amount of typos.
    I kept on reading, waiting for it to get better. Sadly, it never did. I finally gave up toward the end.
    I'm sure the author doesn't want to hear this, but this book belongs in a landfill.

    If you enjoy plot holes (Ala Batman: The Dark Knight movie), then for all accounts read this book.
    Just don't say you weren't warned.
    I couldn't finish it, after getting the ring and being told not to tell anyone, the first thing she does is tell someone. Then, *rolling my eyes* she goes to Sea World to get a job. I mean, really, is this character a complete idiot?
    I like how you accuse most of those of trolling you. You must really have ticked people off if they go to all the trouble of making an Amazon account just to post a bad review of your book. But then that wouldn't really be a surprise.
    Last edited by Rogue Mutt; 07-18-2015 at 05:59 PM.

  10. #10
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    As for the Jay Greenstein Way, here are some of your glowing reviews:
    Here you are, still hijacking someone else's thread for your own personal pique. You could open a thread of your own, and endlessly rant about how much you hate Jay Greenstein because he fails to appreciate your brilliance, and not drive away yet another poster.

    But that's not your style.

    An interesting thing: Those "reviews"you quoted were from people just like you, on a site like this one, who couldn't handle the ideas of the professional teachers and publishers, and so placed revenge reviews on my work. One way to tell, is that like so many of the reviews of your own work, the ones posting them don't have that all important, "Verified purchase" attached.

    But of more importance, this thread isn't about my writing. Nor are the points I mention my opinion. The information I give can be found in any book on writing technique, or heard in any class on commercial fiction writing. I can point to the relevant passages, because unlike you, I'm not expressing my own views. In fact, in the post you dismissed I gave two links relevant to the discussion.

    So you're wasting your time. When you post a rant about me I find it amusing, and sleep better knowing you're pissed...again.

    Do you want better reviews of what you post here? Post work that's showing, not telling.

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