Monday, December 7, 2009

Day 40 - 263 Words - Showing and Telling and Planning and Plumping

Today went out the window when I had a minor morning emergency which caused continued sleep deprivation. But I did get some planning done, and I started in on something else important: I started recapturing my "voice."

I've been away doing screenwriting for quite a while. And with screenwriting, the the words "Show, Don't Tell" have a whole different meaning. The whole medium is about showing. You CAN'T tell the way you can in fiction. There is no exposition, no internal dialog. So basically you have to stick it into external dialog, or leave it out. You have dialog and action, and that's it.

But worse.... you have to leave the cool stuff to the actors. Humphrey Bogart stands on a train platform, reading the goodbye letter from the woman he loves. It's pouring rain. That's about all you can say. You can elaborate a little for the sake of the producers, and maybe say something like "he's crushed" to give an idea of where the actor will be going with it. But you can't tell the actor how to get there. You also have to leave the timing and lighting and atmosphere and the way the camera directs your attention to this detail or that to the director. And director of photograpy and editor.

When writing fiction, you have to do all of that yourself. And the way to accomplish it, especially without resorting to 'telling' and too much stage direction, is through voice. And it's easy for me to get back into my voice when I have a first person narrator, but when I'm writing a story in third person, I currently tend to rip through it with dialog and minimal action now.

And that's a big part of why I'm taking a break at the end of the month, and then coming back. At that time, I will be going at this story with voice. Right now I'm ripping through dialog and events. It's the scenes with out dialog, or which depend on non-dialog elements, though, that are giving me the most trouble....

So I spent today first sorting out what I have written and what I haven't, and then reading and plumping up layers of voice and language. When I finally got down to it, it didn't take that long, so this might be the best thing to do on those busy work days.

Running Total: 29901 Words.

29901 / 50000 words. 60% done!

Pre-flamingo scene, revisited.

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