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Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Reminder to Myself-IWSG June 2018

It's IWSG Day.  The goal of this blog hop is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. IWSG is the brainchild of Alex Cavanaugh, our brilliant ninja leader. Co-hosts this month are Beverly Stowe McClure, Tyrean Martinson, and Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor!

To read posts from other IWSG members, click here.

One of the hard lessons I continue to force myself to remember is to “write in scene.” It took me a long time to stop summarizing necessary backstory and to write the action as it happened. 

For example, instead of this:  

The fight about the glasses put the wedge in our relationship. Sissy claimed they were hers to keep, but Ma told me on her deathbed she meant for me to have them.
I go back and write it like this:

The fight started over Grandma’s glasses.

“They’re mine,” Sissy said the day after Ma died. Her eyes were cold, angry blue. The same color as the cobalt crystal she insisted she’d be taking.

But I knew the truth. How Ma ordered me to get a pen. How her hand shook as she wrote, the words slumping down the page. How when she was done, she passed the note to me and rested her head on the pillow with her eyes closed, her voice softer than the breath of wind coming in the open widow. I leaned in to hear her. “There. They belong to you. Don’t let anyone tell you different.” 

In a recent weekly newsletter, publishing coach Jane Friedman says: "The only stories that matter are those we inhabit personally, not just with our minds, but through our senses." 

It's another good reminder to make sure our readers experience the story as if they were looking through the lenses of our characters.

Do you find it hard to write "in scene?"


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Yes, I do. It's easier just to say it and move on. But that's telling. We need to show, to let the reader be involved.

Joanne said...

Yes. Your example is excellent. Superb post and a good reminder. Thanks. Hope you are well!

Jan Morrison said...

Gorgeous example! Yes, put us there viscerally and sensually. Hard to do well but so important.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I don't worry too much about it during the drafting process, but when it's time to revise, I pay more attention and - hopefully! - get it right. :)

Nick Wilford said...

It's a hard balance. Inevitably there'll always be some backstory to handle but you're right in your approach of having the reader experience it just as vividly as the current action. Great tip!

Chrys Fey said...

It can certainly be tricky to find a balance with backstory. I do my best to share most of it in some sort of action, even if it pops up in dialogue that doesn't read like a history lesson on my characters.

Karen Baldwin said...

I love writing 'in scene,' but sometimes it's hard segueing out of it.

Loni Townsend said...

I find it a lot easier to write in scene if it's happening in the moment. Maybe that's why my current WIP is so long!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

That's a great mini-lesson. I do have to make sure I do that.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Yes I struggle with that too. Love the Jane Friedman quote.

Misha Gerrick said...

Sometimes, I just gloss over a scene to get to the bit that has my attention. Usually I just go back later and rewrite to strengthen.

So it's not really something I "struggle" with as much as a part of my process as a writer. :-)

Carol Kilgore said...

I did when I first started writing fiction. Now, sometimes I have to go back and summarize some things because I almost totally write scenes and end up with a mess.

PJ Colando said...

If the purpose of vacation is to reboot one's happiness, creativity, and core...I did!

However, after three weeks away, I forgot how to linky! Yikes!

Did I mention I'm a Boomer and that computerese is my third language, with faltering skills!

Oops! And, I had a humorous, satiric post!

P.S. Alas and alack, though my protagonists are Midwestern, the home of home cooking, I find that my chapters often lack sense of smell...because I don't have one due to uncontrolled allergies. Sigh.