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Old 07-09-2019, 11:01 AM   #31
nmstevens
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Default Re: Scene with no dialogue

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jab2019 View Post
Once again I thank you all. I did find that by eradicating all -ing words the descriptions became stilted and dull. I will try to keep them to a minimal but not remove them simply to remove them.

Thanks
Just want to toss my thoughts in.

While I agree with the various suggestions regarding formatting, for me there's a larger issue.

Scenes in general are about intention and obstruction. Somebody within a scene wants something and something or somebody is keeping them from achieving it.

This can be as straight-forward as wanting the money inside a locked bank vault or wanting to achieve some emotional advantage within an apparently casual dinner conversation.

So your character has some intention here -- getting these various thingamabobs -- but there seems to be no obstruction. Nothing, either external or internal, is preventing her from getting what she wants in this room. She just goes about the room and gets these objects, bing, bang, boom -- the end.

And because there's no obstruction, the scene feels dead. It is dead. It is noteworthy that at no point do you describe her reactions, what she is feeling, how she responds to these various objects. She has no apparent reaction. She might just as well be picking out objects on the shelves of a supermarket.

So, in reading it, I don't know what they mean to her, how important they are to her, what emotional weight they carry -- what she has overcome internally, if she has to overcome anything, to go into this room to gather up these objects.

That is, they may have some "plot" significance, but what "thematic" significance do they have? What mountain, if any, does she have to climb -- what obstacle does she have to overcome, to go into this room and get these things?

Because is there's no obstacle, either external (that is, you create some sort of ticking clock -- she only has a very short time in which to get them --- risks being caught, etc.) or some internal obstacle -- because they carry some emotional weight and she has to face whatever that emotional thing is -- then you have no real scene.

And "that" is what you need to figure out, not just the business of breaking it up into chucks of four lines each.

When you figure out what the "scene" actually is, then you will be able to write it properly, because then you will know what it is about, whether your protag needing to hurry into this room with only thirty seconds to quickly gather these critical items and the clock ticking and she's seeing the second hand on that big clock sweeping down and she can't find that last critical item and can hear the approaching footsteps and, my God, where is that final item and then the door starts to open -- etc., etc.

Or whatever. The point is, then it's a scene. Not a shopping list.

Again, just my two cents.

NMS
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Old 07-09-2019, 11:33 AM   #32
GucciGhostXXX
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Default Re: Scene with no dialogue

My problem with this scene is: nothing happens. Also it could be condensed to (maybe) two sentences. Also, too many “she”. Also you use “gently” back to back. Also, how can we know it’s been reframed? I’m not gonna get that from merely looking at a picture in a frame.

Consider this: “gently” I get you want me to think she cares about this stuff a lot, but I don’t get that from “gently.” Not in the way I want to. I’m picturing stilted acting vs true emotion. “gently” could mean this stuff means absolutely nothing to her but is merely fragile but means something to someone else that this “pile of crap to her” will be used to manipulate them, so long as she doesn’t break it.

There’s a better way to make me believe she cares about this “stuff.” Stuff that means nothing to me. Show my why it means something to her or I get confused as to what is actually happening in this scene.

Most importantly show us a scene that’s going somewhere.
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Old 07-09-2019, 11:39 AM   #33
GucciGhostXXX
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Default Re: Scene with no dialogue

Quote:
Originally Posted by nmstevens View Post
Just want to toss my thoughts in.

While I agree with the various suggestions regarding formatting, for me there's a larger issue.

Scenes in general are about intention and obstruction. Somebody within a scene wants something and something or somebody is keeping them from achieving it.

This can be as straight-forward as wanting the money inside a locked bank vault or wanting to achieve some emotional advantage within an apparently casual dinner conversation.

So your character has some intention here -- getting these various thingamabobs -- but there seems to be no obstruction. Nothing, either external or internal, is preventing her from getting what she wants in this room. She just goes about the room and gets these objects, bing, bang, boom -- the end.

And because there's no obstruction, the scene feels dead. It is dead. It is noteworthy that at no point do you describe her reactions, what she is feeling, how she responds to these various objects. She has no apparent reaction. She might just as well be picking out objects on the shelves of a supermarket.

So, in reading it, I don't know what they mean to her, how important they are to her, what emotional weight they carry -- what she has overcome internally, if she has to overcome anything, to go into this room to gather up these objects.

That is, they may have some "plot" significance, but what "thematic" significance do they have? What mountain, if any, does she have to climb -- what obstacle does she have to overcome, to go into this room and get these things?

Because is there's no obstacle, either external (that is, you create some sort of ticking clock -- she only has a very short time in which to get them --- risks being caught, etc.) or some internal obstacle -- because they carry some emotional weight and she has to face whatever that emotional thing is -- then you have no real scene.

And "that" is what you need to figure out, not just the business of breaking it up into chucks of four lines each.

When you figure out what the "scene" actually is, then you will be able to write it properly, because then you will know what it is about, whether your protag needing to hurry into this room with only thirty seconds to quickly gather these critical items and the clock ticking and she's seeing the second hand on that big clock sweeping down and she can't find that last critical item and can hear the approaching footsteps and, my God, where is that final item and then the door starts to open -- etc., etc.

Or whatever. The point is, then it's a scene. Not a shopping list.

Again, just my two cents.

NMS
EXACTLY THIS! Word for word. I don’t know what this chick wants nor do I know what she’s risking to get it. She’s just grabbing stuff that has no significance to me, nor, apparently her. As written.
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Old 07-11-2019, 12:02 AM   #34
R.D. Wright
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Default Re: Scene with no dialogue

You’ve already received enough writing lessons, so I'm not going there. However, on the very first read, something did grab my attention. Before I proceed, am I safe in assuming that “Bill” is the deceased military officer, a veteran of the American armed forces? If I am, then this is what hit me:

She reaches into the wardrobe and removes an American flag. She neatly folds it and drapes it on top of the box.

Such a man as you describe would be adamant — often to the extreme — about how the American flag is treated. When it is not on a flagpole, it is never “draped” over anything. I realize the man is dead, but if she has so much respect for him, would she not treat the flag accordingly? — and especially if he taught her to do so?

She then diligently proceeds to fold the flag into its correct three-cornered shape.

Of course this still begs the question, if we're in the deceased officer’s room, how did the flag end up in a wardrobe in the first place? It would be properly stored in a triangular case.

You said you’re English writing an American story, so you may want to look this up. I think addressing this point would put a neat button on your scene.
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Old 07-11-2019, 12:21 AM   #35
GucciGhostXXX
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Default Re: Scene with no dialogue

Quote:
Originally Posted by R.D. Wright View Post
You’ve already received enough writing lessons, so I'm not going there. However, on the very first read, something did grab my attention. Before I proceed, am I safe in assuming that “Bill” is the deceased military officer, a veteran of the American armed forces? If I am, then this is what hit me:

She reaches into the wardrobe and removes an American flag. She neatly folds it and drapes it on top of the box.

Such a man as you describe would be adamant — often to the extreme — about how the American flag is treated. When it is not on a flagpole, it is never “draped” over anything. I realize the man is dead, but if she has so much respect for him, would she not treat the flag accordingly? — and especially if he taught her to do so?

She then diligently proceeds to fold the flag into its correct three-cornered shape.

Of course this still begs the question, if we're in the deceased officer’s room, how did the flag end up in a wardrobe in the first place? It would be properly stored in a triangular case.

You said you’re English writing an American story, so you may want to look this up. I think addressing this point would put a neat button on your scene.
Agreed!

I caught that too. My father is a dead Nam vet. What you described is exactly how I honor his flag. It was folded ONCE (when presented to me) and will remain that way for the rest of my life.
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Old 07-21-2019, 04:40 PM   #36
Jab2019
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Default Re: Scene with no dialogue

Hi Guys,

Thanks for the helpful input and au certainly am glad to hear about the way an American Veteran would handle the flag in the manner required. This I didn’t know.

Regarding the comments about intention and point of the scene, it does make sense is the previous scene has been read. The intention is clear, the reason for each item is clear and the tension is clear.

I was just really asking a message about formatting due to reading so many statements about different rules.

I appreciate your comments and could show and explain an answer but if I planned on doing that then I would have posted more of the script than a short scene.

Thanks all
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