Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lights! Camera! Huh?

I can’t write scenes in which people are doing things. This is a new discovery for me.

Stuck for a blog idea and itching to write something, I sat down and started a short-story. The story was to take place on a bus. My main character had to get on the bus and pay for his ticket. The bus would then take off, forcing my character to stagger down the aisle while trying to find an empty seat. He would eventually find a place to sit that was next to an old man with spiky hair.

Should be easy to describe that, right?

Not for me. Turns out I’m more proficient with adjectives than adverbs. Apparently I prefer ideas to action.

I tried to write those opening man-stagers-to-empty-seat sentences. Nothing sounded right. My words sounded clunky, heavy, and, worst of all, boring. In the end I gave up.

Here’s what I wrote instead:
James sat next to a wispy haired old man and closed his eyes.
What’s wrong with that, I hear you ask. Well, nothing, if you’re writing a short-story. I’ve taken the reader straight to the action without all that unnecessary stumbling around. But what if I was writing something longer? What if I was writing a story that encompassed more than one scene? Is my character going to magically appear at the right place at the right time in every scene?

Probably not, right?

So here’s what I’ve decided to do: I am going to write that man-stagers-to-empty-seat scene. I am going to get my man on the bus and into his seat if it kills me, or him, or both of us.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

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